Sunday, December 10, 2006

Twisted definitions & interpretations, part 1

It has been said to me that opposition to abortion is a "recent" phenomenon - that in prior times people were more pragmatic, since they had no birth control. I'm wondering what their definition of "recent" is, because records show Jewish opposition to abortion and exposing babies for at least the last 2000 years, and probably earlier. Nor am I referring to self-serving Talmudic rulings, which are surely biased and known to try and pass off customs of the middle ages as ancient rulings. No, I am referring to then contemporary writings of the 2nd Temple period from various authors in the Roman Empire:

"But Jewish devotion to family predates the Romans by thousands of years—think of all those begats—and by the time of [the 1st century AD], Jewish family values were noticeably different from those of their neighbors. A Roman father could, for any or no reason, choose to kill his newborn infant either by cutting the umbilical cord too close or by leaving the baby outside, and the Jewish refusal to do so was seen as peculiar. "The Jews see to it that their numbers increase," wrote the historian Tacitus around A.D. 100. "It is a deadly sin to kill a born or unborn child, and they think that eternal life is granted to those who die in battle or execution—hence their eagerness to have children, and their contempt for death." Herod himself executed two of his own sons, leading Augustus Caesar to remark that "I'd rather be Herod's pigs than Herod's sons..." ...And "In a culture so devoted to children, married sex was a blessing. 'The harmonious coming together of man and woman and their consummation is figuratively a house. And everything which is without a woman is imperfect and homeless," wrote the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria (20 B.C.-A.D. 40).'"
[From an article on MSNBC about family values.]

Philo was, of course, a Hellenizer in the extreme, and was in favor of allegorizing all parts of scripture that didn't agree with Greek philosophy. So he can hardly be said to be pandering to the party line. (The fact that a lot of his Greek positions later did become the party line doesn't change the fact he was radically re-interpreting Judaism at his time.)

There is no place in the Scripture that states it is ok to kill babies either by abortion or exposure, because all humans at every stage of their development are made in the image of God. We've all heard the verse where God says to Jeremiah, "before you were formed in the womb I knew you," but that fact doesn't apply just to prophets. In case you didn't know, Jewish children are by virtue of their DNA designated as Cohens (or whatever) long before they are actually born, at the moment of conception. For those of you who don't know, the Cohen gene is placed on the y-chromosome, meaning it is passed only from father to son and uniquely identifies male descendants of the Aaharonic family line. (The mother's nationality is, incidentally, completely irrelevant genetically - giving serious question as to why the Rabbis accept only matrilinear descent. You're only a Cohen genetically if your father was a Cohen. You get nothing on your y-chromosome from any female ancestor.) Although we cannot at this time identify genes for all Israelite tribes, there are many "Jewish" markers - obviously from the tribe of Judah - and it is speculated there are such markers for every one of the 12 tribes. Research is ongoing.

But the fact remains - your heritage and destiny comes from your DNA which is designated at your conception - and even before you were formed in the womb, as God said. This is the reason God said to Cayin that "your brothers bloods cry out to me from the ground!" The word usually translated "blood" is in fact plural, and the Rabbis say the reason for this is that when you kill someone, you have also killed all their future potential offspring. You have killed every one of their future descendants that would have been. Clearly, since an unborn child already has all his DNA, it is a similar crime - "bloods" shows that God is seriously annoyed by it, and God hasn't changed any since the world began.

There is also an interesting passage in Jeremiah, that I translate as follows:

[Jer 2:32-37] Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number. How you shorten your way - to seek sex! Therefore - even the wicked women you [men] have taught your [evil] ways; Therefore in your [women's] skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents; You did not find them breaking in [like burglars]; yet in spite of all these things you said: 'I am innocent; surely His anger is turned away from me' - Look!, [God] will enter into judgment against you, because you said: 'I have not sinned.' How greatly do you cheapen yourself, to change your way [to accept the sinful heathen practices]? You will be ashamed of [the practices of] Egypt also, as you were ashamed of [the practices of] Asshur. From these [ways] also you shall go forth, with your hands upon your head [in shame]; for the LORD has rejected them - those in whom you have trusted - you shall not prosper because of them.

The gist of the passage is clear - those poor babies produced by your sexual relations are not invaders who broke in against your will. When you engage in sex, especially if you are not married, you know good and well that a child might result, so how dare you say you can adopt the murderous practices of other peoples and then say you haven't sinned! It's outrageous, God says, that you don't think you'll be punished for killing the poor innocents - but you will. You have forgotten the teachings of God and embraced secular or pagan philosophies about sex. People who have abortions do so because they don't trust God to provide a home for the child or to provide for them if they keep their child. But God says you will be ashamed of the heathen practices of abortion and infanticide when the day comes for you to be judged for your actions, and you will learn that trusting pagans was entirely in vain.

There is another passage that is largely mistranslated on purpose, to make it appear that accidentally killing an unborn baby brings no punishment but a fine. The passage reads as follows:

[Ex. 21:22-25] "And if men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart, and yet no harm follow, he shall be surely fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
But if any harm follow, then thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe."

All verbs in Hebrew are attached to the immediately adjacent noun - except in this verse. For some reason, those who favor abortion want to jump over the nouns "her fruit" and "child" - meaning her unborn baby - and link the verb "harm" to the 3rd noun back - "woman." So there are two nouns between "woman" and "harm," therefore both "child" and "her fruit" should be attached to the verb "harm" (because they are referring to the same thing) when following standard grammatical practice. In fact, it is likely that God worded this passage repetitively specifically to make it a feat of great grammatical gymnastics to link "harm" to "woman." According to Jewish exegesis, God speaks with precision. When He words something a specific way, that wording is meant to be meaningful in and of itself. Here, it can only be meant to keep people from making the ungrammatical jump that they so often want to do to bolster their political position in favor of abortion.

To put it more plainly, the passage says that if the child is born unharmed after the accident, then there is no problem and a simple fine is given to the parents for scaring them like that. But, if the child is harmed or dies, then the person who killed or harmed the child should receive his punishment measure for measure. This is the law for an accident. It goes without saying, then, that someone who performs abortions on purpose will be liable to the death penalty on judgment day, regardless of what the secular laws allow now.

You see, class, God's not into political correctness, and God isn't into abortion, either, regardless of how PC it is today. It is modern liberal Jews who have departed from history, and not the other way around. Jews killing their babies for convenience is "recent" - God says, in contrast, "Choose life!"

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