Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Sunday Sermonette: A digression to current events

The next two psalms are just the usual pleading for God to be good to me and to screw over my enemies, so I won't say anything else about them.  But I will take this opportunity to comment on the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that an embryo is legally a child, with Chief Justice Tom Parker writing that "human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God, who views the destruction of His image as an affront to Himself." Presidential candidate Nikki Haley said she agrees, that she believes an embryo is a baby. 

It is something of a mystery why this very weird belief has become central to the ideology of many self-described Christians, and that it is held so passionately. There is no biblical basis for this idea whatsoever. That abortion, at any stage of pregnancy, is any sort of a sin, is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible, Old Testament or New. Jesus is never said to have mentioned it, not do the epistles. In the Torah, unwanted killing of a fetus is a property crime against the father. Numbers 5 prescribes a ceremony for the purpose of inducing abortion in the case of an unfaithful wife. God repeatedly commands the Israelites to massacre pregnant women and children. 

As for the point at which an entity gains the moral status of a human, they couldn't even have speculated on that because they were unaware of the existence of embryos or the nature of conception -- which actually did not become even dimly understood until the late 19th Century. The embryos used in IVF are microscopic, consisting of 60 undifferentiated cells. In nature, blastocysts that make it to that stage frequently fail to implant, the woman has a menstrual period, and never even knew that she was "pregnant," as the Bible thumpers would have it. Counting later miscarriages, about half of all embryos are naturally aborted. 


If these people really believe that all of them are "babies," then they believe that half of all babies die before they are born, and this must be the greatest public health crisis in all of history by an enormous margin. One hundred percent of the NIH budget must immediately be redirected to find ways of saving all those babies. Meanwhile, God is the most prolific abortionist in history by 12 orders of magnitude. It's all so utterly, transparently ridiculous that I can't believe we even have to engage with these lunatics. 

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, for the memorial offering.

70 Be pleased, O God, to deliver me!
    O Lord, make haste to help me!
Let them be put to shame and confusion
    who seek my life!
Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor
    who desire my hurt!
Let them be appalled because of their shame
    who say, “Aha, Aha!”

May all who seek thee
    rejoice and be glad in thee!
May those who love thy salvation
    say evermore, “God is great!”
But I am poor and needy;
    hasten to me, O God!
Thou art my help and my deliverer;
    O Lord, do not tarry!


Prayer for Lifelong Protection and Help

71 In thee, O Lord, do I take refuge;
    let me never be put to shame!
In thy righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
    incline thy ear to me, and save me!
Be thou to me a rock of refuge,
    a strong fortress,[a] to save me,
    for thou art my rock and my fortress.

Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
    from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man.
For thou, O Lord, art my hope,
    my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Upon thee I have leaned from my birth;
    thou art he who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of thee.

I have been as a portent to many;
    but thou art my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with thy praise,
    and with thy glory all the day.
Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
    forsake me not when my strength is spent.
10 For my enemies speak concerning me,
    those who watch for my life consult together,
11 and say, “God has forsaken him;
    pursue and seize him,
    for there is none to deliver him.”

12 O God, be not far from me;
    O my God, make haste to help me!
13 May my accusers be put to shame and consumed;
    with scorn and disgrace may they be covered
    who seek my hurt.
14 But I will hope continually,
    and will praise thee yet more and more.
15 My mouth will tell of thy righteous acts,
    of thy deeds of salvation all the day,
    for their number is past my knowledge.
16 With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come,
    I will praise thy righteousness, thine alone.

17 O God, from my youth thou hast taught me,
    and I still proclaim thy wondrous deeds.
18 So even to old age and gray hairs,
    O God, do not forsake me,
till I proclaim thy might
    to all the generations to come.[b]
Thy power 19 and thy righteousness, O God,
    reach the high heavens.

Thou who hast done great things,
    O God, who is like thee?
20 Thou who hast made me see many sore troubles
    wilt revive me again;
from the depths of the earth
    thou wilt bring me up again.
21 Thou wilt increase my honor,
    and comfort me again.

22 I will also praise thee with the harp
    for thy faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praises to thee with the lyre,
    O Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips will shout for joy,
    when I sing praises to thee;
    my soul also, which thou hast rescued.
24 And my tongue will talk of thy righteous help
    all the day long,
for they have been put to shame and disgraced
    who sought to do me hurt.


  1. Psalm 71:3 Gk Compare 31.3: Heb to come continually thou hast commanded
  2. Psalm 71:18 Gk Compare Syr: Heb to a generation, to all that come


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