Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Misplaced Compassion

One of the commonest pro-abortion arguments is that miscarriages do not normally get funerals. My standard counterargument is that Jewish law does not authorize the shiva mourning period for the deaths of infants under thirty days old. At first sight, that looks like pointless cruelty. We have to consider the effects of holding any kind of ritual over a dead infant who was at the prime age for being offered to Moloch. For example, in the blog Abortion Clinic Days (seen via Dawn Eden), we see:

many years ago i remember a patient telling me that she chose our clinic because she could tell that we respected her and knew that we would therefore respect the life within her. it was very important to her that she have trust in the clinic she chose because she felt that, given her life circumstances, returning her baby to god was the kindest, most maternal thing she could do for it. i assured her that her feeling was correct, that we in fact do all we can to honor the life that women are unable to continue and we encourage them to find their own way to make peace with the pregnancy (whether it be a baby or a "pre-baby" to them), figure out how to forgive themselves and also to continue working through any religious or spiritual issues if they have them. we show all patients the section of the clinic where the brochures and handouts are kept and encourage them to take all they want home with them. in addition to the independently produced brochures, there are the publications of RELIGIOUS COALITION FOR REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE and CATHOLICS FOR FREE CHOICE. a while back, we interviewed many priests, ministers and rabbis to determine how we might refer women for pastoral counseling or, if the women preferred, to share some of the messages of hope that we have collected from various clergy. we are glad to be able to pass on those messages of hope and love that come from god via his clergy from various religions.
I suspect that infant sacrifice (cf. Jeremiah 7:31) started via a ceremony to mourn dead infants, which then turned into a ceremony to let the parents “forgive” themselves. This was followed by turning the ceremony into a celebration of death and it finally became regarded as a commandment from the local gods.

The following advice might sound compassionate, but it can be very dangerous:

Of course you aren't going to get pro-life and pro-choice people to get together and admit, "Yeah, the fetus is somewhat human, somewhat not," and make peace. Nevertheless, I think the Japanese have one answer: they mourn the aborted fetus. Perhaps the perception by some pro-lifers that abortion-rights supporters are callous about life could be mitigated if there was more public acknowledgement and ritualistic mourning, something that indicates that something not quite animal and not quite human was killed, if not in any rationally definable fashion, at least on some instinctive level.
Let's consider the effects of such ceremonies in Japan:

Read your Second Book of Kings, where the Israelites' backslide into degenerate Canaanite cultism is disdainfully described: "On top of every high place and under every big tree, shrines appeared." Then take a drive through the Japanese countryside and see if you can begin to count the shrines. And visit some of them. With their thatched roofs and splintery altars stacked high with citrus, are they not merely modified tiki-huts? These children of the Mikado should not be classed among the major Asian civilizations. They're island-hopping Polynesians who paddled their canoes a little too far north, and wound up over-financed by us.

If you unshade yourself from under the big tree, and traverse the high place, you will probably come to a temple outright, which is to say a fane dedicated to the local third-hand style of Buddhism. If this temple happens to be located in my depopulated and depressed neighborhood, it might very well look at first glance like an abandoned garden, poinsettias drooping over everything. It will be enclosed by four nostril-high walls, wattle and daub, topped by rotting pine bas-reliefs of fox demons scarfing fried tofu.

A greenish carp pond will send small belches of airborne murk to sink in around the graven lineaments of pagan idols, called jizos, nearly featureless under the granite pudge, looking like neonate Buddhas or Gary Bauer. Stacked at their toeless feet will be baby toys, canned food offerings, and mandarin oranges caved in like bottled fetus-heads in high school biology labs.

A dozen questions will pop into your mind about the pink bibs on those jizos: where do they come from, what do they signify, what invisible hands mend and replace them, and why are they the only elements of this scene that receive any kind of maintenance? This temple yard is such an obscure place of devotion that the food offerings have long ago been carted off by crows and mountain-roaming derelicts. But, even so, someone has been by to replace the bibs. They're pink as the bolt in the fabric store.

In answer to your questions, hear now the time-honored words of Japanese grannies preparing their granddaughters for womanhood: "Once you've contrived that he should cease to be, all you need to do is place a little piece of fish, or perhaps a dab of pork gristle, between the lips of the youngster after you expel him, before you burn him. He will not become a Buddha as a result of this dietary indiscretion. He will return to the cycle of metempsychosis, his tiny soul and penis 'recycled,' as your mother says of milk cartons and plastic bags. Perhaps, with any luck at all, he and not some other youngster will return to your household when the time for parenthood is riper. And if you're inclined to feel sentimental, stitch a few cozy pink bibs for the baby-sized jizo figurines in the temple yard."

One last point: Let's look at a quote from the supposedly compassionate abortionist Warren Hern (also seen via Dawn Eden):

In some cases, he has participated in Jewish and American Indian funeral rituals after the abortion, along with the family members.
If “Dr.” Hern participates in allegedly-Jewish mourning practices for aborted fetuses, those practices were probably invented on the spot.


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