You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers – and a Special Interview with Jason and David Benham

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Dr. Brown speaks with Jason and David Benham in the aftermath of their show being dropped by HGTV because of their Christian values and then takes your calls and answers your e-questions. Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.

 

Hour 1:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: When the dust settles and the lies have been exposed, it is truth that will be standing.

Hour 2:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: The word of God is a tree of life. Let us put our roots down deep into that tree of life, and we will grow and thrive.

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Other Resources:

In and Out of Calvinism

Dr. Brown Interviews One of the “Preachers from L.A.” and a Gay Activist from Charlotte

A Christian Musician Fired By a Christian Friend for His Moral Stand and Christian Families Fight Back in Philly

76 Comments
  1. Greg,

    ‘Unborn Baby’ or child is the definition of fetus.

    fe·tus
    ˈfētəs/

    noun: fetus; plural noun: fetuses; noun: foetus; plural noun: foetuses

    an unborn offspring of a mammal, in particular an unborn human baby more than eight weeks after conception.

    synonyms: embryo, unborn baby/child

    Origin
    late Middle English: from Latin, ‘pregnancy, childbirth, offspring.’

    So I see no problem whatsoever in using the definition of fetus ‘unborn baby’ rather than the latin word for it. And before the latin word fetus was coined, i’m sure mothers called them babies or children long before (in their respective languages).

  2. Forgot my main point.

    That since fetus is defined as an ‘unborn baby’ that both are “accurate”, ones just using modern English instead of Latin.

  3. Greg,

    You accused us of twisting the scripture. Where is the twisting in these passages? In which passage is a child not really a child?

    Here are some things that we can know for sure from the Biblical view:

    It is a child when it is near to be delivered.(8 1/2-9 months)

    1Sa 4:19 And his daughter in law, Phinehas’ wife, was with child, near to be delivered: and when she heard the tidings that the ark of God was taken, and that her father in law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and travailed; for her pains came upon her.

    Lu 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

    It is a child before it can cry.(7 months)

    Isa 8:4 For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.

    It is a child by six months.

    Lu 1:24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,
    25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.
    26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth…
    44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

    It is a child by the time that the mother feels movement.(4-5 months)

    Ge 25: 21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
    22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.
    23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

    Ro 9: 10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
    11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
    12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

    It is a child when it is 6-8 inches long. (4 months)

    La 2:20 Behold, O LORD, and consider to whom thou hast done this. Shall the women eat their fruit, and children of a span long? shall the priest and the prophet be slain in the sanctuary of the Lord?

    It is a child by three months.

    Ge 38:24 And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.

    Once there are bones growing, it is a child. (Two months)

    Ec 11:5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.

    When it didn’t have any members. (One month)

    Ps 139:16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

    It is a child when the woman realizes she has missed her period. (2 weeks)

    2 Sa 11:5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.

    Ge 16:4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes…
    11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.

    It is a child when by the time it is a week old.

    Lu 1:38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
    39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda…
    42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
    43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

    It is a child when it is conceived.

    Job 3:3 Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.

    Ju 13:7 But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.

    Heb 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

    When did Messiah take on the seed of Abraham? At conception…that is when seed is conceived:

    Lu 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
    36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived

    Heb 11:11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

    In the following passage, at birth, in the womb and from conception are all in reference to the existence of Ephraim.

    Ho 9:11 As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception.

    Conclusion: The people of the Bible, the prophets that spoke for YHWH and YHWH veiw us to be alive humans from conception on.

    So there you go, Greg. Please demonstrated how the above scriptures do not indicate that it is a child in the womb. At what point in the above passages does the definition of child not apply? Which passages are twisted? Do you dare answer with any specifics? I doubt it.

  4. Jon,
    I am not a homosexual. The whole act of a grown man groveling on his knees to an imaginary male authority figure is just about as homoerotic as an act can be. It’s creepy. Your religious symbol is a half naked dead man hanging on a cross and this is what you worship. The priests and purveyors of your religion have been molesting children and engaging in homosexual behavior since Christianity has existed. In other words your religion is about as gay and creepy as it can be. And true to form it is homophobic. What a mess, what a sick mess.

    “Every sensible man, every honorable man, must hold the Christian sect in horror. But what shall we substitute in its place? you say. What? A ferocious animal has sucked the blood of my relatives. I tell you to rid yourselves of this beast, and you ask me what shall you put in its place? – Voltaire

  5. James,

    You wrote:
    “Do you ever try to empathize with the particular situation at hand and the difficulties (moral or otherwise) that might arise from it, or do you simply take a black and white view on matters based on Bible passages? In the same vein, do you think that certain situations affect the morality or ethics of a certain act (ie. situational ethics)?

    For example, concerning abortion, would the fact that a pregnancy resulting from rape change the ethics of having an abortion or is the act still the same in your eyes regardless; the act being considered murder, comparable to any other murderous act (like the murder of a young child on the way home from school).

    I would be interested in your view on the matter. You quote a lot of scripture (which I’m not saying is a bad thing) which tends to give off the impression that you only consider these moral issues from a purely legalistic, scriptural manner rather than also considering them in light of the complex, real world experiences they often represent.”

    Would it be righteous, just and good for me to come home and kick my dog because I was upset about how my boss treated me at work that day? And now that I had experienced real world complexity and since I could empathize with you, would it be good for me to counsel you to kick your dog because your boss treated you badly? Or should I stick with the ideal that dogs should not be kicked, even though I could understand why you might really want to kick yours? What if your boss gave you that dog, does that make it any different?

    Would it be better if I counseled you to try to forgive your boss and to not kick the poor innocent dog? Whether or not you were able to forgive your boss, if you still couldn’t stand the sight of the dog, would it be better to give it to someone that would be kind to it? What if there was law on the books that said that dogs are not dogs until they have eaten 600 pounds of dog food…does that law change the fact that the dog feels pain when it is kicked? Does it change the fact that you feel guilt for the rest of your life for kicking it?

    But more to the point…would it be good if I, to help you though your situation, burned your dog and ripped it to shreds and threw it in a dumpster while you were half asleep? And what if the government would pay me to do it if you didn’t have the money to pay me and no one would know about it unless you told them…does that make it righteous, just and good? And do I have a conflict of interest to counsel you to do something like this when it is going to make me a lot of money?

    Do two wrongs make a right? Does the victim of one crime have a true right to make someone else a victim of another crime? If my landlord removes all my belongings out of the apartment that I am renting from him and moves somebody else in while I am at work, do I have the right to shoot and kill the new tenant?

    To be continued below:

  6. Continued from above:

    James, I have lived 52 years and have experienced a little injustice and violation and senseless harm. Molested by a cousin when I was 5. Beaten (not just spanked) by my father. Tripped in school by a bully just after I got out of a walking cast after breaking my ankle. Business deals with people that didn’t pay to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. Vandalism to stored antiques and family heirlooms to the tune of $40,000. And many other things, both much bigger and much smaller. I know what it is to want to take vengeance. I know what it is to want to hurt or kill. I also know what it is to perpetrate injustice upon others. I was well down the road to either death or prison when Messiah saved me.

    Here is what I know. I am grateful for grace. Grace from people that I have harmed. Grace to not take action on extreme emotions like lust and anger. Grace from YHWH that keeps me from destroying myself and others lives with spur of the moment selfishness. I know the power of emotion and the disappointment and shame of giving in to those emotions in ways that are not righteous, just and good. This is the reason for any law…to act as a reminder to us in situations where we might get out of control and to enact justice based on reason and equity. YHWH’s law is higher than the law of man. He knows what will really set the situation right for everybody ultimately. The supposed right to murder children in the womb damages both the woman and the child, even in the case of rape and incest. When the law of YHWH is not on our hearts, we give way to emotions and desires/lusts in destructive ways. Our society has done this with abortion law. It is destructive.

    I understand that there are situations where the extremeness of the situation demands understanding and grace and mercy instead of penalty…or at least a lesser or commuted sentence. We do this with children that commit crimes all the time. We have hope that these will grow up and learn not to give in to pressures that produce actions that harm others and themselves. Some children end up tried as adults when the crime is serious and there is indication that they knew better and mercy will not likely help. All this said, there is no reason why for the small percentage of cases where a child is produced by rape that there needs to be legalized abortion on demand.

    I have a wife, four daughters, two daughters in law and a granddaughter. I know what it is to worry about different situations that may arise. And as much as it would destroy me emotionally to find out that they had suffered violation and added to that that they where now with child, I would never put even greater guilt, shame and harm upon them by suggesting abortion. It does not fix the problem. Real mercy and grace do not allow the victim to become a victimizer or to add more injustice to the situation. It does not harden hearts and justify sin. Real mercy and grace supports and encourages the person to do the righteous, just and good things and helps them get through the difficult and overwhelming emotional trauma till they can heal and forgive. And if for some horrible reason one of my girls did murder their unborn child, I would offer the same mercy and grace to lead them to repentance and to receive forgiveness from YHWH. But real mercy and grace never calls evil, good nor good, evil. It never clouds the picture of what is righteous and what is unrighteous. Mercy and grace cannot exist without a standard…a law…a righteous, just and good law that is absolute.

    So no, I do not believe in situational ethics. It is not real mercy and grace. It is not real justice. It is a lie that heaps sin, shame and guilt upon us and our society and it produces hardened hearts and bitter people. Complexities in a situation do not change the standard, but they may change the sentencing. When we change the standard, we ultimately sentence the criminal to the possibility of never repenting and thus he may continue in crime, which harms us, and thus he continues on the path toward eternal punishment. We also sentence society to judgment from YHWH and degrade humanity and harden their hearts. Changing the standard eliminates mercy and grace instead of enacting it. Changing the standard punishes everyone for a few people’s crimes and ultimately causes everyone to tend toward dishonoring of the law. Everyone has a feeling of injustice being done and that tends toward them justifying themselves when they become perpetrators of injustice upon others. And then they want to change the law to make more lenient on their crimes and the downward cycle continues.

    Shalom

  7. Greg,

    This church is not divided about it. There are few issues that the early church, Catholics, Orthodox, reasonably conservative Protestants and even the major cults agree. It is only liberals who disagree.

    Science is 100% clear that human life begins at conception. What you are arguing is that it is not worthy of protection because it might not be “fully human”. I can’t prove that I am “fully human” and not some special exception to the do not murder rule nor can anyone else. All people are worthy of the right to life unless you can prove otherwise for some special case. The burden of proof is yours if you want to allow them to be killed.

    BTW: Liberals want to use the “brutal power of government” for all kinds of things. Aren’t you being a bit inconsistent claiming that we shouldn’t use it to protect unborn babies?

  8. Greg says, “Since Jesus never preached against abortion, I’ll guess that a certain percentage of Christians read their bibles more carefully than others, not confusing discipleship with partisan politics.”

    Greg, I think you’re a little confused about what the Bible says and what Jesus thinks of taking an innocent human life. Abortion is murder. That truth is embedded in the hearts of His true disciples by the Holy Spirit.

  9. Greg,

    You shamelessly wrote:
    “Since Jesus never preached against abortion, I’ll guess that a certain percentage of Christians read their bibles more carefully than others, not confusing discipleship with partisan politics.”

    The above is stupid rhetoric. You almost always do not answer questions regarding passages of scripture. You almost always do not post passages of scripture. You are as partisan as the come on this issue. You certainly do not have any passages of scripture to back your stance. Get real.

  10. Amy,

    >>Abortion is murder.

    You have the right to believe that. But, you don’t believe it because of the bible.

    Do you live in a death penalty state? Are you seriously prepared to put women to death based on something you infer from the bible rather than a clear teaching?

  11. Doug,

    >>This church is not divided about it. There are few issues that the early church, Catholics, Orthodox, reasonably conservative Protestants and even the major cults agree. It is only liberals who disagree.

    You paragraph actually made me laugh!

    The first sentence is in complete contradiction with the last sentence!

    Like it or not, Jesus saves liberals too!

  12. Doug,

    >> Liberals want to use the “brutal power of government” for all kinds of things. Aren’t you being a bit inconsistent claiming that we shouldn’t use it to protect unborn babies?

    When I say “brutal force of government” I am not talking about a citation for not selling someone a wedding cake!

    You guys keep calling abortion “murder.” If you live in a death penalty state — what is the penalty for murder?

    When pressed directly, I’ve had a number of my pro-life friends tell me that the penalty the “murder” of abortion should be death! Nothing is more pre-meditated than an abortion, afterall.

    How perverse is that? The goal of the “pro-life” movement is death!

  13. Greg,

    You continue to make unfounded assertions base on a liberal agenda, but you still have failed to deal with the scriptures that have been posted. How about a little intellectual honesty for a change? Here are the scriptures one more time. Which ones are twisted? Come on Greg, engage in a fair discussion for once.

    You accused us of twisting the scripture. Where is the twisting in these passages? In which passage is a child not really a child?

    Here are some things that we can know for sure from the Biblical view:

    It is a child when it is near to be delivered.(8 1/2-9 months)

    1Sa 4:19 And his daughter in law, Phinehas’ wife, was with child, near to be delivered: and when she heard the tidings that the ark of God was taken, and that her father in law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and travailed; for her pains came upon her.

    Lu 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

    It is a child before it can cry.(7 months)

    Isa 8:4 For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.

    It is a child by six months.

    Lu 1:24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,
    25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.
    26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth…
    44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

    It is a child by the time that the mother feels movement.(4-5 months)

    Ge 25: 21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
    22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.
    23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

    Ro 9: 10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
    11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
    12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

    It is a child when it is 6-8 inches long. (4 months)

    La 2:20 Behold, O LORD, and consider to whom thou hast done this. Shall the women eat their fruit, and children of a span long? shall the priest and the prophet be slain in the sanctuary of the Lord?

    It is a child by three months.

    Ge 38:24 And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.

    Once there are bones growing, it is a child. (Two months)

    Ec 11:5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.

    When it didn’t have any members. (One month)

    Ps 139:16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

    It is a child when the woman realizes she has missed her period. (2 weeks)

    2 Sa 11:5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.

    Ge 16:4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes…
    11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.

    It is a child when by the time it is a week old.

    Lu 1:38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
    39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda…
    42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
    43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

    It is a child when it is conceived.

    Job 3:3 Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.

    Ju 13:7 But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.

    Heb 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

    When did Messiah take on the seed of Abraham? At conception…that is when seed is conceived:

    Lu 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
    36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived

    Heb 11:11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

    In the following passage, at birth, in the womb and from conception are all in reference to the existence of Ephraim.

    Ho 9:11 As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception.

    Conclusion: The people of the Bible, the prophets that spoke for YHWH and YHWH veiw us to be alive humans from conception on.

    So there you go, Greg. Please demonstrated how the above scriptures do not indicate that it is a child in the womb. At what point in the above passages does the definition of child not apply? Which passages are twisted? Do you dare answer with any specifics? I doubt it.

  14. Greg,

    You pathetically wrote:
    “How perverse is that? The goal of the “pro-life” movement is death!”

    Let me see…the liberals are all for killing babies in the womb and they are somehow are not pro-death? The goal of the pro-life movement is to prevent the death of babies, Greg. Why do not answer the questions in the many posts above? Are they too damning to your position?

  15. Everybody,

    Be sure and note how Greg will continue to slip himself clear of answering any pertinent scriptural questions.

  16. Greg,

    Talk about avoiding the subject! I don’t know what the prefect penalties would be. Taking away the license of doctors providing abortions would be a great step forward for life.

    Now how about providing some evidence that the people you want to see die are not covered by the Bible’s teaching on murder. You are pro-death not me.

  17. The Bible does not specifically mention that sex trafficking,robbing a bank with a sawn-off shotgun, tax fraud or internet child porn are bad, so they must be fine, according to Greg’s reasoning.

    There you go, party on, folks.

    PS My husband is a hippy veggie borderline pacifist, and he’s pro-life. All sorts of people are pro-life.

    PPS Before anyone is tempted to make easy assumptions, we are both anti-death penalty.

    PPS I am not a veggie pacifist. I love my meat toooo much.

  18. Greg,

    Has quietly slipped away so as to not deal with the facts of scripture once again. One more mark against his intellectual honesty.

  19. Greg says, “You have the right to believe that. But, you don’t believe it because of the bible. Do you live in a death penalty state? Are you seriously prepared to put women to death based on something you infer from the bible rather than a clear teaching?”

    Whether or not I live in a death penalty state is neither here nor there. (The death penalty has been abolished and reinstated several times in NY and was declared unconstitutional ten years ago.)

    I believe abortion is murder because of the Bible. I was pro-abortion before I was born again and, as an ultra liberal agnostic, have argued for it far better than you.

    But I’ve repented, I’ve turned, I’ve changed my mind. I now agree with God and His Word, as Bo has expounded here so well.

    Please carefully read Bo’s posts #53 and #63. Read them in context from your Bible. No one can come to a pro-abortion position after reading those Bible passages, unless he or she is a hardhearted unregenerate.

  20. This is one blog site where the luke warm politics is dipped into the truth serum. The luke warm opinion is roundly rejected!

  21. Amy,

    Thanks for the kind words. My heart and mind will not let me believe in abortion. The Spirit and the word are so obviously against abortion, that I cannot fathom a so called believer being pro-choice. Pro-choice is pro-murder.

    Shalom

  22. And how is it that some think of themselves as Christians as they attempt to use scripture to destroy the truth?

  23. Hi Greg, Ray and Bo,

    Sorry I couldn’t get to your comments much sooner. I had a pretty crazy week with work so I had very little time on my hands.

    In regards to Biblical inspiration and inerrancy, thanks for the clarification Greg.

    And thanks also for your other nice remarks towards me, although I must confess that I don’t feel brave for coming here. Bravery would be something like coming out to your evangelical friends and family members, which I haven’t gotten around to doing yet.

    I hope to tell everyone eventually, but only when I have built up a strong enough support structure that I can rely on when the going gets tough.

    Anyways, thanks again for your comments. I’d love to attend your church and take communion with you someday. I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating, I very much admire your persistence in sticking around this place and continuing to comment here despite the constant push back you get from other people. I don’t often comment here but I do read the comments every now and then, and when I do, I always look forward to reading your comments the most.

    Ray,

    Thanks for expressing your concern for my salvation. I appreciate it.

    Bo,

    Thanks for your detailed response to my questions, as always. You responded to my questions with some questions of your own, so here’s my honest attempt to answer all of your questions, in order of appearance:

    —————
    No, it would not be righteous, just and good for you to come home and kick your dog because you were upset the way your boss treated you at work, nor would it be good for you to counsel me to kick my dog if my own boss had similarly treated me. You should indeed stick with the ideal that dogs shouldn’t be kicked, even if you could understand why I might really want to kick a dog, and even if that dog had been given to me from my boss.

    It would also be great for you to counsel me to forgive my boss and to not kick a poor innocent dog. And if I can’t forgive my boss, nor stand the sight of my dog, then yes, it would be better to give it to someone else who would be kind to it. And no, a law defining dogs as not dogs until they eat 600 pounds of dog food would not change the fact that the dog feels pain when it is kicked, nor would it likely change my guilt for having kicked it.

    It would also be terrible if you were to burn my dog, rip it to shreds, and throw it in a dumpster while I was half asleep. And it would not at all be righteous, just, and good for you to do this even if the government had paid you to do it. Moreover, it would almost certainly appear to be a conflict of interest to counsel me to commit such an act if the government were to pay you money in getting me to do something like this.

    Do two wrongs make a right? No, they do not. A victim of one crime does not have a true right to make someone else a victim of another crime. If, as an example, your landlord removed all your belongings out of your apartment and brought in a new tenant in your place it would not justify you in killing the new tenant.
    —————

    Those are my answers to your questions. I suspect Bo that you’ll probably agree with pretty much all of the answers that I gave. While your scenarios are interesting I don’t think they’re particularly relevant to what I had in mind. I propose to modify your scenario of the boss’s dog above to make it more relevant. Here’s another version presented in a more story like fashion:

    ——-
    Suppose that your boss who had treated you badly at work one day came over to your house, broke into it and started beating you with a bat. Suppose also that after causing serious injury to you with his bat he effectively incapacitates you, making you unable to fight back. Shortly after being incapacitated from your injuries he then strips you naked and sexually assaults you. After being viciously beaten, humiliated and sexually assaulted, he then brings into your house his very sick, emaciated pit bull and leaves it in the next room to where you are lying on the ground barely conscious in a pool of your own blood. The boss then suddenly rushes out of your house after hearing the sound of police sirens approaching.
    Now, not too long after your boss runs off after committing this brutal crime against you, the police show up along with paramedics. They immediately attend to your wounds. Still barely conscious, you somehow manage to identify your boss to the police officers present just before completely passing out. They then put you in an ambulance and take you to the nearest hospital.

    After receiving comprehensive medical treatment overnight at the hospital an officer, who had been present at the scene, shows up and approaches the hospital bed in which you’re lying down in. At this time you’re conscious, but a bit dreary after having been heavily medicated a few hours earlier. The officer, now beside your bed, informs you that you’re very lucky to be alive. Had it not been for a neighbor who called 911 shortly after hearing screams (your own) coming from your house, you probably would have died. The officer also informs you that they’re actively looking for your boss but that at the moment it appears he has left town and disappeared with no leads to work off of.

    Extremely grateful to be alive you then thank the officer for saving your life and showing up when he had. The officer then smiles at you, gently pats your arm, and just barely starts to turn away from you as if to leave when he suddenly turns back to you. His smile from before is gone. He says, his voice slightly shaky “ummm…there was a very sick dog in your house when we showed up”.
    You then inform the officer that you have no pets. The officer responds explaining to you that he knows, and that he had gone over the city’s pet registration database earlier. The officer goes on to tell you that it appears that your boss left the sickly dog there prior to running off. Right before you can respond to this the officer then explains to you that they have already brought in a veterinarian who has given it full medical attention, and that they have provided the dog with food and water also. At this moment there’s a slight pause between the two of you. Again, just before you can respond to this, the officer starts talking again. He tells you that they can cover the initial costs of the treatment and food provided to the dog but tells you that you will unfortunately have to cover most of its long term costs.

    Your face now appears surprised and bewildered. You don’t know what to think. Finally, after collecting your thoughts, you respond to him asking him why you have to cover the long term costs of this dog. The officer tells you that the dog is now considered legally under your care…

    Your face turns from one of surprise and bewilderment to that of complete shock. You explain in a slightly louder voice that you don’t like dogs, never wanted one, and certainly don’t want this one, much more, having to provide and look after it out of your own pocket. Indeed, you point out to him that you’ve never owned any pets in your entire life. You ask “can’t you guys take care of it, or give it to the family members or relatives of the guy who just viciously attacked me. Why do I have to look after his stupid dog”?
    The officer replies telling you that by law legal ownership of a dog must be placed under the care of the legal owner(s) of the property in which the animal was last found in cases where legal ownership can no longer be identified. He then tells you that your boss was living completely alone with no relatives in the country, and that since he is no longer a suitable owner of the dog, the legal responsibility falls to you. Lastly he explains to you that the police have a policy of not taking in or caring for a victim’s pets found at the scene of a crime beyond any days the victim is in the hospital.
    “In other words”, the officer explains, “you’re technically the legal owner of the dog here given the law”.

    Your face now appears angry. You barely start to get a word out when the officer quickly interrupts you, “but…don’t worry”, he says in a somewhat reassuring tone, “you can still give the dog up for adoption to someone else who is willing to legally take it in. You don’t have to keep it”.

    Feeling a bit of relief you then ask the officer if he’d be able to place the dog with someone else immediately who can take care of it.

    The officer, however, looks at you and pauses, giving off a long face. He then tells you, “unfortunately you won’t be able to give the dog up until it has sufficiently recovered and is deemed healthy by a qualified vet”.

    Your face again turns to one of shock. Again, right before you can get a word out, the officer continues “it umm…it seems you’re unaware about a law that has been on the books in this state for a while now. You see the thing is, the law prohibits the transfer of sick or injured pets to other parties or people”. He informs you that this law applies very strictly. He tells you that you won’t even be allowed to let a friend take care of the dog at their place while being considered the legal owner. He explains that the primary reasons for the law is twofold. One is to prevent the spread of diseases from pets to other pets or humans, and the other reason is to prevent new pet owners from incurring the cost of having to take care of their newly acquired pet which had been sick. The officer goes on to further elaborate on the intricate details of the law and some of the other reasons for why it was needed, as well as how it solved them when it came into effect, but most of it passes over you. You simply don’t see its relevance to you.
    After hearing his long answer and explanation you start feeling frustration and anger. The officer, realizing this, says reluctantly, “now…I wish there were an exception for you given how terrible your situation is but unfortunately there simply isn’t anything I can do for you. The current law doesn’t have any exceptions that would exempt you legally here. Believe me I checked. You’ll unfortunately have to legally take care of it until it regains its health before giving it up for adoption. You’ll also have to comply with certain conditions surrounding the law regarding proper contact with the dog for yourself and other people so as to not make you legally liable should anything happen”.

    Being now extremely frustrated and fed up with what the officer has told you so far, you then lash out at him, attempting to explain to him that you don’t have the money, time or will to take care of this dog. You mention to him that you had been struggling financially over the past year after your boss significantly cut back your work hours. Plus you didn’t at all want to care for a dog which would be a constant reminder of the barbarity inflicted upon you by its owner. At this moment you start tearing up a little before continuing to talk again to the officer. You further explain to him how, under such a situation, you would be forced to have to take the dog in and have it put down anyway, especially now with you being unable to come into work for a while because of your injuries…

    The officer then looks at you with another very long face. He starts to talk, his voice again a bit shaky. He says “I understand your desperate situation but I’m afraid it won’t be possible to put it down either. You see the thing is, state legislators just recently passed a law which came into effect a week ago which bans the practice of putting down all pets over 5 pounds and those within certain specified categories. Canines are one of the categories among many. It’s a law that finally came about after animal rights activists pushed hard and successfully for it after years of campaigning”.

    You stare at the officer again with utter shock, and then anger once more. You start to wonder if you’re just having a bad dream. Could this conversation really be happening? You don’t remember ever being familiar with such a law or hearing about anything similar. You search your mind but nothings comes up. Perhaps there are loopholes in this law, or maybe there are loopholes in the other law. You start thinking of them but then shortly stop yourself, realizing the exercise is pointless. Chances are the officer is going to discount those as well. If there were a way around it he would have certainly told by now.

    Feeling dismayed and overwhelmed by everything just said, but not wanting to argue or stress over the matter any further, you reluctantly tell him that you will take care of the dog and try to get it back to health as quickly as possible.

    The officer smiles at you and thanks you. He tells you he’ll be back later to update you further on the situation and their search efforts. He starts to leave the room when you suddenly call to him, saying “officer, about that dog”.
    “Yes…?”, the officer responds.
    “How sick did you say the dog was again, and how long do you suppose I’ll have to take care of it?”

    The officer gives off another long face, but this one longer than any of the others. He then states “perhaps you didn’t see the dog”.
    “No”, you reply. “I never did, come to think about it”.
    The officer then says, “the dog was quite emaciated, bruised, cut, and had a number of infections as well. It also had a badly broken leg”.

    After a brief moment of silence between the two of you the officer then continues again, “we checked with the vet already and he says it’s likely going to take upwards of at least 9 months or more before the dog is healthy enough to be considered for adoption. We can try and find resources for you to help you look after it, but you’ll still be expected legally to provide and care for it, both through your finances and through your own time. Again, I’m deeply sorry for your situation and any burden this is places on you. There just isn’t anything else I can do for you in this situation though given our laws. That’s just how the law works here”

    ———-

    Bo, as bizarre as the above scenario is, it’s actually much more relevant to the scenario of rape and abortion I laid out earlier than are your own scenarios. Your scenarios are disanalogous because the boss doesn’t force the dog onto you or I. By all appearances, the dog that was owned in your scenarios was by consent. The actions of the owner therefore don’t absolve your responsibility to primarily care for the dog, as you would have already agreed to prior to taking in the dog anyway.

    In my scenario, however, the actions of the owner would affect my moral responsibility towards the dog in the real world. For example, while I cannot abuse the dog, similar to your scenario, I’m still under no obligation to take care of his dog or anyone else’s dog that is suddenly left with me. In reality, I could take the dog to the pound the very same day it was left to me and the pound people there would either find it a home or else probably put it down.

    Under your apparent view of rape and abortion it would be different. Your view would seem to line up closely with the absurd scenario of the boss’s dog that I modified from your own scenario. In the situation in which all abortions were deemed illegal or immoral (which again appears to be your view), it would be like the scenario I laid out where the victim is forced to look after the boss’s dog and care for it. Of course, such a scenario is absurd and completely unjust on the face of it, as already pointed out. It’s also unrealistic. No state or country would enact laws that force someone to look after another person’s pet simply because it was suddenly left with them. Even if it was against the law to have that pet put down and not treated there would still exist easy solutions that could free a person of the burden of having to actually care for someone else’s pet. But in the case of universal prohibitions against abortion, however, such easy solutions do not exist. A pregnant mother cannot transfer her fetus to another person, nor can financial assistance and personal support from other people completely free her of the burden she will have in carrying the pregnancy to term. She will always, regardless of assistance, have to invest part of herself into the care of her unborn child. And that forced investment of herself towards the care of her unborn child could be incredibly painful and psychologically harmful to her given the brutality of her experience. This to me completely changes the moral dynamics of having an abortion in this particular situation. Now, obviously, this is only one aspect of the morality of an abortion. Of course you’ll also have to consider concepts of personhood and its relation to child development, intelligence, awareness and so on, along with personal beliefs (religious or otherwise) when assessing the total picture on the morality of an abortion in particular circumstances. Simply repeating simplistic notions that life begins at conception isn’t really that helpful I think in addressing those broader concerns though. And they don’t seem to take seriously the situational effects on morality. You said you don’t believe in situational ethics Bo but I’m not sure you really understood how I was referring to it. Whether we like it or not, the particulars of a situation do matter when it comes to determining what is moral and what is not, and the degree to which it is either. Killing may be wrong in most circumstances, but I’m sure we can all imagine and recognize situations in which it might be justified or even good to do so (ie. self defense, saving another person in harms way, etc). Likewise, killing yourself/committing suicide may be wrong in most circumstances but I’m sure we can all recognize situations in which it might in fact be justified, such as the sacrificing of your life for another, or choosing to jump out of a burning building instead of being burned alive (ie. think 9/11). All of this shows that situations do matter, and can, despite your claims to the contrary, affect the morality of an act directly. What may be immoral in one situation may be moral and good in another. Alternatively it may also be neither moral or immoral, but ammoral.

    So, how does all of this apply to the morality of an abortion in the case of a woman who is raped? Is it immoral, moral or ammoral? Given her situation and experience I don’t think it would be immoral for her to have an abortion. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s properly a good and moral act either. If a woman in such a case had decided not to have an abortion no one (not even extreme liberals) would call her decision immoral. Thus, neither the act of abortion or the lack thereof in this situation is considered immoral. Rather, I think such a decision and its resulting consequence becomes ammoral. The act in this case would therefore not be held against her or the doctors who perform it. That’s how I see it.

    Now, despite any disagreements I might have with you on the above matters, there are some things which you said that I would largely agree with. For example, what you said on showing grace, mercy and understanding rather than demanding penalty is something I’d very much share with you, even if we’d disagree on the morality. You wrote:

    “I understand that there are situations where the extremeness of the situation demands understanding and grace and mercy instead of penalty…or at least a lesser or commuted sentence…All this said, there is no reason why for the small percentage of cases where a child is produced by rape that there needs to be legalized abortion on demand”.

    Most of what you said here I wouldn’t take issue with. I’m actually not of the opinion that readily available abortion on demand should be legal (or at least if it is, then in a much more limited, restricted sense). And I’m especially all for mercy, grace and understanding in difficult situations. It’s something that I hope my close family members and friends who are Christians will have towards me should I choose a path or “lifestyle” they fundamentally disagree with. To be quite honest, the sentiments you made here were mostly what I was wanting to see in your other comments but unfortunately not really seeing. I see a lot of Bible passages thrown around here with very little grace and understanding given towards other people. You can’t just throw out Bible passages at people from a distance in a cold-hearted manner and expect people to be sympathetic to your position. You have to reach out to other people with a desire to try to understand them and their views, and have a willingness to empathize with them for their particular situation. Of course this goes for everyone, myself included. I’ve often not lived up to that ideal myself when conversing with others on issues very personal to me (I’m sure you know what I’m referring to). If we don’t live up to that ideal, however, then how is anyone going to change the hearts and minds of the people they’re speaking to. It ultimately gets us nowhere and instead makes us more divided than we already are, which is bad for everyone.

    Shalom

  24. James,

    I just noticed your response.

    The baby that would be produced by rape, which is very rare, is not a sick dog. It is a human life. So you have to trash most of your story. You could say that it was puppy and needed 9 months to grow…maybe. You could say that for the first 4 to 5 months it would not likely cause much hardship. You say that you may feel ill in the morning for 6 weeks. You could say that there will be a very intense time with some hard work and some pain right at the end.

    You could say that it would not be much harder or more dangerous than rowing a boat for 5 hours against the current to save a child that was clinging to piece of driftwood. But would it be proper to say it is alright to get a high powered rifle with a good scope and simply shoot the child in the head instead of rowing the boat?

    I hate the idea of rapists. I hate the idea of someone getting pregnant from rape. I hate the idea of a woman having to carry such a child to term, but I hate the idea of murdering the child much more. When we are put in situations that we do not choose, there is grace form YHWH to endure. When we choose to place ourselves in situations that are outside of His will, we can only find grace when we repent.

    Have you heard testimonies of the people that got their start from rape? Have you heard the stories of those that lived through botched abortions? Have you heard the testimonies of woman that have been terribly damaged emotionally and spiritually and even physically from getting an abortion? It is one thing to be forced into a situation, that is emotionally damaging, against your will, it is quite another to force someone else to be die against their will. The latter is more emotionally damaging than the former. There is another human being involved in the story…that does not have a voice…but would probably like to live long enough to have one.

    So the people that jump out of burning buildings to their death instead of being burned to death…how does that affect a law about saving and unborn baby. Abortion is not a spur of the moment decision concerning how you die (when you will be dying anyway). It is a calculated decision about killing someone else. Self defense where you kill someone is not murder. Murder is wrong. Self defense is not, even if you end up killing the attacker. Morality is not changed in either case above. Both of the above are spur of the moment decisions. Those are different than moral decisions.

    Yes I can understand the hardships, but that does not necessitate an abortion on demand law.

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