Asserting the Value of Life-I

This article was written by Kylie Decelis. Kylie is a Maltese blogger. Her writings centre around pro-life issues and conservative politics, with the occasional post about Church tradition.

Any fan of the Doctor Who saga knows that Listen, the fourth episode of the eighth series, delves into one of childhood’s infamous worries. Many people understand the feeling of when as you put your feet out from under the bed sheets in the morning to search for your slippers, you always doubt whether something with the ability of snatching your feet is hiding under your bed. Most of us have even taken a quick look to see the narrow world that lies below.

This scenario rightly captures in my opinion the way unfounded questions related to the sanctity of human life pop up from time to time in Maltese politics. We feel that they’re lurking in the mind of a small minority, yet we can’t really address the issue once and for all and reaffirm Malta’s pro-life character. Mind you, the obsession some members of this minority have regarding the ruining of Malta’s clear pro-life laws has blasted the fantasy of the creature under the bed into a fully-fledged paranoia. As always, you can count on Lovin Malta (Maltese liberal site) to pitch in and sound their pro-abortion, and overall liberal, fetish with the rest of us.

Any respectable person would simply distance themselves from the recent comments of a well-known electoral candidate regarding abortion and euthanasia. These serious failures of our society are never a matter of personal choice since they involve people making decisions which they are not entitled to make. In the case of abortion, it’s a mother deciding whether the other person in her womb should be allowed to live or should be given the death penalty. In the case of euthanasia, it’s a person deciding the time when s/he can leave this world. I wouldn’t spend much time debating him given his obvious flawed arguments. However, I find utterly disgusting the failure of his respective party to simply state its values and the comments of Lovin Malta on this issue.

First of all, political parties in Malta should clearly define their value system. It seems that the two major political parties are harbouring individuals who define themselves as pro-abortion. As a voter, I need to know where each party stands on this issue. As life is the first and most important human right, a pro-abortion party can never expect the vote of a woman like me. As a woman, I feel utterly insulted by any person saying that the decision whether to kill my children in my own body is a very personal one. Evil is never personal! I want to make sure that in any circumstance, I, and any woman regardless of her beliefs, shall have the opportunity to choose life, and life only. Women deserve better than abortion. So no, it’s not a matter of personal choice as the candidate said. It’s a matter of protecting women and babies from murder. If anyone champions women’s rights, it’s definitely the pro-life movement. Only within a fully pro-life mindset can we fully understand the value of any life regardless of its stage.

To be continued….

Violence in the Qur’an and the Old Testament-II

This article was written by Connor Attard, a fellow Maltese traditionalist and contributor.

The Contrast

The Qur’an consists entirely of direct speech, and offers very little in the way of historical context or details about Muhammad’s personal life. Verses are loosely organised into chapters by theme, and the chapters themselves are sorted in descending order of length; all except the first chapter. Owing to this rather bewildering format, Muslim scholars are forced to rely on external sources such as the Hadith and the Sira to properly interpret the Qur’an.

The Bible, in contrast, is a collection of Jewish and Christian texts, written by several authors in vastly different historical contexts. As Christians, we believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God, who allowed the human authors to convey His message according to their individual literary talents. Exodus, for example, is considered by many scholars to be a religious epic. It also contains numerous historical accounts, poems, parables and anthems.

On the Violence

Since the Bible flows chronologically for the most part, the violence of the Old Testament is completely overshadowed by the New Testament. Neither Jesus nor His early disciples resorted to violence to spread their influence, despite tremendous persecution. Muhammad, on the other hand, was a political leader who frequently took his followers to battle and demanded a fifth of the spoils of war (Qur’an 8:41).

Furthermore, there is ample literary context to mitigate the Old Testament’s violence. There’s little doubt that these passages are descriptive, rather than prescriptive, so even literal interpretations of these passages are poor justifications for bloodshed.

The Qur’an isn’t quite so lucky. Despite a small handful of peaceful verses in the earlier chapters of the Qur’an, Islamic tradition holds that the chapters revealed in Mecca were abrogated by the more bellicose Medinan ones; revealed after Muhammad’s flight to Medina (The Hijrah). The ninth chapter of the Qur’an happens to be the final chronological chapter, and by far the most belligerent. It contains the infamous Verse of the Sword (9:05) and the divine sanction to collect the Jizya (poll tax) from subjugated Jews and Christians (9:29).

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that all Muslim terrorists are inspired by the Qur’an, much less that all Muslims are terrorists. Christians ought to condemn acts of violence and unjust discrimination against innocent Muslims wherever it may occur. We do believe, however, that interreligious dialogue is ultimately fruitless if built on false pretences and equivalences.

The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election and the Catholic Vote: How Businessman Donald Trump Won-II

Catholic Saints such as St. Augustine of Hippo who said:

“Sometimes, indeed, this lustful cruelty, or if you please, cruel lust, resorts to such extravagant methods as to use poisonous drugs to secure barrenness; or else, if unsuccessful in this, to destroy the conceived seed by some means previous to birth, preferring that its offspring should rather perish than receive vitality; or if it was advancing to life within the womb, should be slain before it was born.”

-De Nube et Concupiscentia 1.17 (15)

and St. Jerome who said that:

“You may see many women widows before wedded, who try to conceal their miserable fall by a lying garb. Unless they are betrayed by swelling wombs or by the crying of their infants, they walk abroad with tripping feet and heads in the air. Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost before their conception. Some, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when (as often happens) they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ but also of suicide and child murder.”

Epistula 22

These saints opposed abortion in their lifetimes. In 1869, in his Papal bull Apostolicae Sedis moderationi, Pope Pius IX declared that any Catholic who procured an abortion incurred excommunication reserved to the Bishops or ordinaries. Also in 1995, Pope St. John Paul II wrote the encyclical Evangelium vitae, in which he upheld Catholic teachings on abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty.

From Evangelium Vitae: “It is also a question, in a certain sense, of the “moral conscience” of society: in a way it too is responsible, not only because it tolerates or fosters behavior contrary to life, but also because it encourages the “culture of death”, creating and consolidating actual “structures of sin” which go against life. The moral conscience, both individual and social, is today subjected, also as a result of the penetrating influence of the media, to an extremely serious and mortal danger: that of confusion between good and evil, precisely in relation to the fundamental right to life.”

In 2004, during the American Presidential election, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI declared that Catholic politicians that support abortion or euthanasia should be denied Holy Communion. Catholics in the last two elections voted for a candidate that opposed the teachings of the Catholic Church. This year, however, Catholics voted in accordance with the Catholic faith and voted for pro-life Republican Donald Trump. Donald Trump is pro-life on abortion with exceptions, favors de-funding Planned Parenthood, appointing pro-life judges on the U.S. Supreme Court, and respecting Religious Freedom when it came to faith based institutions and businesses. Catholics sided with Trump over Hillary. I voted for Donald Trump. I am very proud that Catholics voted for Donald Trump. Hopefully, now that Donald Trump has been elected, the pro-life movement in the United States can make progress by appointing pro-life judges on the bench, de-funding Planned Parenthood, and overturning the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that unleashed abortion on demand in America.

This will all be possible under Trump and would have been impossible under Clinton. The pro-life movement could not get a lot done in the 8 years of Barack Obama. Now that Trump won, Catholics and the pro-life movement can now achieve this goal to uphold the sanctity of human life and abortion will be outlawed after all.

The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election and the Catholic Vote: How Businessman Donald Trump Won-I

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On November 8,2016, 70-year-old American businessman Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. He won 59,611,551 votes and 302 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton’s 59,813,991 and 232 electoral votes. He won the Evangelical vote by 81% to 16% and the Catholic vote by 52% to 45%. On social issues, he is pro-life, opposed to gay marriage, supports Religious Freedom, and the 2nd Amendment. While Hillary Clinton, supports abortion, gay marriage, and favors gun control. While the Evangelical vote is always dependable to the Republican Party, while the Catholic vote tends to be tricky. In the last two elections, Barack Obama won the Catholic vote despite his support for abortion and gay marriage. This time the Catholic vote when to Donald Trump who won 52% and Hillary Clinton only won 45%. The Catholic Church is strongly opposed to abortion and gay marriage. Since the its first Pope, St. Peter, the Catholic Church has affirmed the grave evil of abortion. For example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2272-2275:

2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,”77 “by the very commission of the offense,”78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:

“The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.”80

“The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.”81

2274 Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.

Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, “if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence.”82

2275 “One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival.”83

“It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material.”84

“Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity”85 which are unique and unrepeatable.

 

Violence in the Qur’an and the Old Testament-I

This article was written by Connor Attard, a fellow Maltese traditionalist and contributor.

When faced with criticism of the Qur’an’s violent passages, Muslim apologists and their political allies in the West often respond by pointing out the violent passages in the Old Testament. This is a debate tactic known as moral equivalence, in which a speaker appeals to two distinct sides of a conflict to be judged the same way because they’re essentially on an equal moral footing. Few, if any, Christians interpret said passages as standing orders to commit violence in the present, so why should Islam’s holy writ be blamed for acts of terror in its name? There are several problems with this position.

Logical Fallacy

Firstly, moral equivalence is a logical fallacy. The question of whether Christianity is violent is completely irrelevant when assessing Islam’s apparent penchant for violence. It sidesteps the issue at hand, and attempts to justify wrongs by appealing to other wrongs.

Difference

Secondly, and perhaps more crucially, it assumes that the Bible and the Qur’an are somehow analogous to each other. This is forgivable, since few non-Muslims have ever picked up a Qur’an, much less know anything about its features. In truth, however, both texts are fundamentally different in format and scope.

The Qur’an is purported to be the eternal and verbatim word of Allah as relayed by Muhammad over a period of twenty-two years. Muslims consider each verse in the Qur’an to be eternally binding unless it’s abrogated by a later revelation. This principle of abrogation is laid down in the text itself.

“Nothing of our revelation (even a single verse) do we abrogate or cause be forgotten, but we bring (in place) one better or the like thereof. Knowest thou not that Allah is able to do all things?” (2:106)