The Bible on Abortion: A Topic It Would Rather Passover

nawiedzenie_1It is estimated that HALF of all pregnancies end in spontaneous abortions. So, let’s be clear: if God wanted to stop abortions, this would be a great place to start. Obviously, there are definite biological reasons why an embryo might not make it, and most people (even firm believers) don’t blame God for allowing so many millions of fertilized eggs to die each year.

But many of the same people who give God a pass for allowing so many embryos to die, would like us to believe that God is punishing us for not making all abortions stop. Setting aside the fact that making abortions illegal does not cause them to stop, let’s examine what the Bible says DIRECTLY about abortion.

If men quarrel, and one strike a woman with child, and she miscarry indeed, but live herself, he shall be answerable for so much damage as the woman’s husband shall require and as arbiters shall award. But if her death ensue thereupon, he shall render life for life. —Exodus 21:22-23

 Here, the Bible’s clearest reference to a fetus being killed indicates that the fetus has some unspecified value, but it doesn’t have the value that the mother’s life has. If the mother is killed, it requires capital punishment. If the fetus dies, it’s whatever the husband demands and not capital punishment. So is a one-celled homo sapiens fully human at the moment of conception? Evidently not, according to the Bible.

The other Bible passage that deals DIRECTLY with abortion is the Ordeal of the Bitter Water. Here, the priest administers a potential abortifacient to a wife suspected of infidelity. To punish the woman impregnated by another man, the Bible commands that priests become actively involved in abortions!

If feelings of jealousy come over her husband and he suspects his wife of adultery, then he is to take her to the priest. Then the priest is to have the woman drink the bitter water. If she has been unfaithful to her husband, then when she is made to drink the bitter water, it will go into her, and her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry. But if she is clean, she will be free and will have offspring.
Numbers 5:14,15, 26-28

Many other references to abortions and miscarriages are written purely for rhetorical purposes, with no thought of taking a stand for or against abortion.

Why was I not stillborn? Why didn’t I die as I came from the womb? —Job 3:11

Then I said, “What sorrow is mine, my mother. Oh, that I had died at birth! Jeremiah 15:10

If his soul is not filled with good, and he does not receive proper burial, I say that an aborted birth is better than he. —Ecclesiastes 6:3

No judgement on abortion here, but one of those times when you wish the Bible had an editor to ask for a less grisly analogy.

In Hosea, God is asked to curse some enemies with spontaneous abortions, because that’s what God does evidently.

Lord, give them what they deserve. Make the women miscarry, or else make them unable to nurse their babies. —Hosea 9:14

And try to find a “sanctity of life” sentiment in this passage from Genesis:

Judah was told, “Tamar is with child by prostitution.” Judah said, “Bring her forth, and let her be burned to death.” —Genesis 38:24

Not so much concern for when life begins, but plenty for when it should end: at pregnant prostitutes!

And lastly, we have these three pasages that represent all of the bloodshed condoned and often encouraged by God in the Bible. When an entire city is killed off, that’s a lot of pregnant women dying. But don’t worry, God said it was okay.

Let them perish by the sword. Let their little ones be dashed, and let the women with child be ripped up. —Hosea 13:16

Because its citizens refused to surrender the town, he killed the entire population and ripped open all the pregnant women. —2 Kings 15:16

And now slay every male, even of the children, and put to death the women that have carnally known men. But the girls and all the women that are virgins save for yourselves. —Numbers 31:17-18

Now for the Anti-Abortion Bible quotes.

Well, the ones I’ve seen put forward mention ‘birth’ or ‘wombs’ like this:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. —Jeremiah 1:5

Okay, this is mostly just Jeremiah trying to establish some street cred as a prophet, saying God chose him to be a prophet even before he was conceived. I would like to see the proof that Jeremiah had on that. I’m not sayin’ for sure that Jeremiah just made that up, but I’m just sayin’.

The Jeremiah passage does NOT say “Don’t abort,” it says “Jeremiah is awesome! Thus sayeth Jeremiah.”

NOTHING in the Bible comes close to saying “Don’t abort.” Don’t blame me; blame the Bible! It’s not hard. When the Bible wants to outlaw something, it just comes out and says it.

Never get a tattoo. I am the Lord. —Leviticus 19:28

Or

Never let a witch live. —Exodus 22:18

It’s funny how we finally stopped putting witches to death, which is clearly commanded by the Bible, while some Bible believers will grasp at any tangential verse to devise a Bible sanction against abortion.

I won’t get into why they try to make the Bible say what they want and not embrace what the Bible actually says about abortion. I would settle for them leaving the Bible out completely and making the best arguments they can. But it’s clear that if pro-lifers want to bring the Bible into the debate, the Bible is NOT on their side.

Michael Morris is the author of Bible Funmentionables: A Lighthearted Look at the Wildest Verses You’ve NEVER Been Told!, which features all of the shocking and hilarious verses that your minister, rabbi, or charismatic cult leader is afraid to preach.

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Rebel Without a Pulse

Another Arkansas politician has made headlines, and this time it’s not because of pro-slavery comments, like some Arkansas legislators! So that’s progress, right?

Charlie Fuqua (that’s his real name, and I’m guessing he doesn’t pronounce it fuhk-YOO-ay), is running for Congress and has written a book arguing that in order to have a civil society, parents must be able to threaten to kill their children. And not just threaten; occasionally it has to be carried out. “Even though this procedure would rarely be used,” he states in his book God’s Law, it would incentivize kids “to give proper respect to their parents.”

Oddly, respect is just the opposite of what Fuqua is receiving after his comments got national attention.

Undoubtedly, killing an obnoxious child once in a while would send a strong message and would help keep order in classrooms, result in a dramatic decrease in teenage tomfoolery and hijinx, and maybe, if we executed enough of them, we might even get kids to clean their rooms once in a while!

Now just where might he have gotten this clever idea from? If you answered, “The Bible,” I’d say what a good student of the Bible you are, and I wouldn’t have to threaten to kill you for about a week or two. Good job!

They shall say unto the elders of his city, “This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice. He is a glutton, and a drunkard.” And all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones. So shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee, and all Israel shall hear and fear. —Deuteronomy 21:20-21

The Bible has been held up as the pinnacle of moral authority, so when the Bible says, “Do not lie,” we don’t lie. When the Bible says, “Do not steal,” we don’t steal. So when the Bible says,”Kill your juvenile delinquents,” do we really have any other choice?

The Bible delivers many examples of bad parenting. Lot offers his daughters to the rapacious mob of Sodom, so that the mob would be okay with not having their way with his male house guests. Thoughtful host, worst parent ever.

This is the same Lot that impregnated two of his daughters, and according to Wikipedia, “Christians and Muslims revere Lot as a righteous man of God.”

In the famous story of the sacrifice of Isaac, God at the very last minute stops Abraham from killing his son Isaac.

And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son, and the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, “Abraham, lay not thine hand upon the lad, for now I know that thou fearest God.” —Genesis 22:10-12

Be afraid of God, and he might not make you kill your son! But he may not stop you from killing your daughter. In a less famous story, but far more horrific, Jephthah is NOT stopped from killing his daughter at the last minute. To show his faith in God, he goes ahead and kills her though she did absolutely nothing to deserve any punishment! (I get upset just thinking about this story, even though I believe it is fiction—horrifically bad fiction.)

And Jephthah took an oath to the Lord, and said, “If you will give the children of Ammon into my hands (in battle), then whoever comes out from the door of my house will be the Lord’s, and I will give him as a burned offering.” Then Jephthah came back to his house in Mizpah, and his daughter came out, and when he saw her he was overcome with grief, and said, “Ah! my daughter! I am crushed with sorrow, for I have made an oath to the Lord, and I may not take it back.” So he sent her away for two months and mourned her virginity. At the end of two months she went back to her father, who did with her as he had said in his oath, and she had never been touched by a man. —Excerpts from Judges 11:30-31,34-35,38-39

They seem much more concerned about her virginity than about that whole burning-her-alive-for-no-good-reason thing.

Congressional candidate Fuqua also recommends expelling Muslims to rid us of the “Muslim problem.” He certainly must be frightened of the possibility of Sharia law overtaking the U.S., yet he is more than eager to implement his Christian version of Sharia law, based on the worst parts of the Bible.

How bad does the Bible get? Let’s see who else it tells us to kill:

  • Witches —Exodus 22:18
  • Brides who turn out not to be virgins (though grooms are exempted from this law) —Deuteronomy 22:20-21
  • Anyone who disobeys a priest —Deuteronomy 17:12
  • Anyone engaged in bestiality —Leviticus 20:15-16
  • Anyone who touches a mountain that God is appearing on —Exodus 19:11-13
  • The owner of an ox that fatally gores someone when the owner knew it was likely to attack —Exodus 21:29
  • People who gathers sticks on the sabbath —Numbers 15:32-36

Capital punishment for stick gathering would certainly curtail the scourge of weekend stick collecting. It seems laughable, but given how these outlandish fundamentalist ideas keep popping up, I would not be surprised to hear in my lifetime a politician, from Arkansas or elsewhere, suggesting serious penalties for picking up sticks at the wrong time.

A new poll suggests that a growing number of Americans want neither Sharia nor Fuqua’s Bible-based laws. As tempting as it may be for parents of teenagers, few of us want to live in Fuqua’s wonderful world of obedience by death threat.

Michael Morris is the author of Bible Funmentionables: A Lighthearted Look at the Wildest Verses You’ve NEVER Been Told!, which features all of the shocking and hilarious verses that your minister, rabbi, or charismatic cult leader is afraid to preach.