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SCC and Trinity Western University

FJAG

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Brad Sallows said:
>That's a value-loaded judgment from the "pro-life" side as to whether or not an abortion is equivalent to murder.

It's not "value loading", it's calling it how they see it.  "Murder" has a moral meaning as well as a legal one; I refer to the former.  If abortion isn't murder, there isn't really a reason to object to it; people object on the grounds that it is a taking of human (a person's) life.  As for law, everything defined in law is arbitrary - it may be grounded on some sort of moral or other principle, but ultimately we can define anything we want, any way we want, in law.  What the criminal code has to say is beside the point when discussing the issue in basic moral terms.

"Some" people object to it; the majority don't.

The crime v morality issue is really the point. Crimes need to be defined and uniformly applied within a society. Within a multicultural society morality varies from group to group and even individual to individual. Oppression occurs when one group insists that it's moral construct must apply to everyone. Our current laws regarding abortion mean that they need only apply to those who want to make use of them. Others are free to choose not to make use of the procedure.

Murder is a legally and socially defined concept as Good2Golf states. While morality may play a part, it's the "unlawful" part that's the key to the term. Societies permit many forms of lawful taking of another life (in war - whether as a direct target or collateral damage, in self defence, in capital punishment, and more). None of those are murder.

By stating that abortion is murder, one is not simply stating their own moral opinion but making a statement that the act is illegal when in fact it is not. It's not only a misstatement but a misuse of language for the express purpose of inciting passion in the listener who is either like-minded or uninformed. That makes it "value-loaded".

[cheers]
 

YZT580

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Thanks for the correction on the legal information.  But abortion is still the taking of a life and in a very brutal fashion.  WE, society, has set a very low value on human life.  The right to party without fear of repercussions 9 months later is a greater right than that of the child to actually enter into life.  Sad. Doesn't say much for our society and its values does it?
 

Kirkhill

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FJAG said:
"Some" people object to it; the majority don't.

....

Rather a tyrannical judgement, no?

By the way, has that judgement been tested in parliament recently?
 

FJAG

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YZT580 said:
Thanks for the correction on the legal information.  But abortion is still the taking of a life and in a very brutal fashion.  WE, society, has set a very low value on human life.  The right to party without fear of repercussions 9 months later is a greater right than that of the child to actually enter into life.  Sad. Doesn't say much for our society and its values does it?

I'm not sure why I'm participating so much in this particular discussion. I do know that I don't have any objections to, or any ill will towards, individuals who subscribe to the pro-life view on this matter per se. I do, however, object to points of view that criticize, demean, attack or oppress others who are on the pro choice side.

For example, I believe that we, as a society, do have a very high value on human life. For example as a society we do not accept capital punishment. The issue on abortion is that we don't all agree as to when a potential human life becomes an actual one. I'm neither a biologist nor a theologian (and I presume very few of us on this board are) so won't get into a debate about how many angels are dancing on the head of this particular pin, but I can accept the rationale that the spark that changes potential human to actual human can occur very late in the process even if there are prior signs of biological activity such as a heartbeat and sensation.

The statement "right to party without fear of repercussions 9 months later" is IMHO condescending to women. I know that there are also some potential financial repercussions to the putative father, however, let's face it, it's the woman (and all too frequently a poor and uneducated one) who is the host for this potential life and will need to carry it for nine months and then care for it for decades later or leave it in the care of the state or others. I'm not a woman (and have never been one) but I can imagine that the carrying of a fetus to term and the raising of a child is more than a mere inconvenience. I very much support a woman's right to choose. I can only imagine that it is a difficult enough decision that she has to make without also being demeaned or bullied or cowed. Unfortunately in many jurisdictions down south it goes far beyond that and such women and girls are treated contemptibly if not down-right denied access to the procedure.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_the_United_States_by_state#State_regulatory_initiatives_regarding_abortion

The fact of the matter is that there would be considerably fewer unwanted pregnancies (especially amongst poor women) if government provided cheap and easy access to contraceptives and family planning. Paradoxically current governments south of the border are cutting funding to such things and, IMHO even worse, such decisions by the conservative majority of the USSC in Burwell v Hobby Lobby allowed privately held corporations to exert their owners' religious beliefs to deny their employees the ability to access contraceptives through the Affordable Care Act. This shortsightedness on the part of many pro-lifers effectively drives the need for more abortions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burwell_v._Hobby_Lobby_Stores,_Inc.

I think that I'll jump out of this discussion now. It's becoming pretty much a zero-sum game.

[cheers]
 

SeaKingTacco

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This has been an instructive and very interesting thread turn.  I want to congratulate all participants for, thus far, keeping it civil and constructive!
 

Infanteer

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I'll echo everything FJAG has said, as it's pretty much where I sit.  I've tried to educate myself on this a bit, if only to understand the policy debate.

1.  The real problem is that "pro-choice" is a bad term - it paints anyone who has some concern for the fetus as some sort of neanderthal trying to lock woman up in the kitchen.  When someone says they are "pro-choice," they are generally just saying that they don't want to hear anything that challenges their extreme position (extreme in that only the right to access should be considered).  "Pro-life" is also a bad term - it paints anyone who supports some form of reproductive control for a woman as an immoral murderer.  When someone claims they are "pro-life," they are generally just saying that they don't want to hear anything outside of their extreme position (extreme in that there should be no access to abortion at all).  Folks under either of these labels are probably the 10-15% on either end of the spectrum that hijack the discussion.

2.  The real answer is, as usual, in the gray zone.  At some point, a fetus is viable and developed enough that most reasonable people would judge that it should be provided some (maybe not total) legal protection.  Before this point, the mother should be provided with a host of legal rights as to her own body.  As FJAG said, I'm not a biologist or a theologian, but I do feel this gray zone is where the 80% solution is at.

3.  But maybe Canada already has the 80% solution?  Its just not the law that does it, but rather the guidelines of the medical profession.  While Canada has eschewed a legal approach to regulating abortion, it has built a professional regime to govern the practice.  Medical professionals will only perform late-term (20+ weeks) abortions in certain (often dire) circumstances.  Statistically, they are 1-2% of the procedures conducted, and are only done when a mother's life is in danger, or the fetus is damaged.  Yet these procedures are often the boogeyman in the room used by opponents of abortion to trigger emotional responses in people.

4.  Thus the real area of discussion is the 12-20 week period.  Again, as FJAG said, I'm not a theologian or a biologist, so my opinion isn't worth much.  But here is the middle ground where any realistic discussion should focus on, but the extremes on either side won't let that happen.  If I talk about the fetus at 17 weeks, I'm immediately "against a woman's rights;" if I talk about an abortion at 17 weeks, I'm immediately a "murderer."  This is the reason, I'm sure, that 80% of Canadians are happy to leave the issue to the woman and her doctor.

5.  Finally, one thing that angers me is the characterization that "pro-life" folks often make by painting woman as flippantly going about terminating a pregnancy.  I know women first-hand who've went through the procedure, and none of them were happy with going through with it.  It's a psychological burden for them but for whatever personal reason, they saw it as necessary for their physical and/or psychological well-being.  They in no way should have to suffer abuse from some a**hole outside of a clinic hanging around with a sign and screaming at them.
 

Kirkhill

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I appreciate the discussion about the abortion issue but this item started with a discussion about the Supreme Court, Trinity Western and the role of religion in the public square.

Might it be appropriate to hive off the abortion debate to a separate thread?

Or is abortion the only reason that there is concern about having TWU's Christian lawyers arguing cases before the Supreme Court?  That might suggest to me that TWU is providing them such an exemplary legal training that they can skew the results in their favour when arguing before the SCC regardless of the case they are arguing.

My own opinions on abortion are my own opinions and largely, as far as I am concerned, not germane to the discussion on how a democratic society manages all opinions, including those informed by religious belief no matter how arrived at, and converts those opinions into a manageable body of law that generates enough support so as to minimize the blood in the streets.
 

Journeyman

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Chris Pook said:
…. the discussion on how a democratic society manages all opinions...
I'll continue with a slight  tangent by recommending Tom Nichols, The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters.  While the conflict between 'science' and 'religion' (as noted in this thread) is not remotely new, this book looks at a growing divide against thinking and expertise, writ large.

A rejection of actual informed expertise occurred due to: the openness of the internet, the emergence of a customer satisfaction model in higher education, and the transformation of the news industry into a 24-hour entertainment machine, among other reasons.

Paradoxically, the increasingly democratic dissemination of information, rather than producing an educated public, has instead created an army of ill-informed and angry citizens who denounce intellectual achievement.

Today, everyone knows everything: with only a quick trip through WebMD or Wikipedia, average citizens believe themselves to be on an equal intellectual footing with doctors and diplomats. All voices, even the most ridiculous, demand to be taken with equal seriousness, and any claim to the contrary is dismissed as undemocratic elitism.
The updated version, which I haven't read, covers "the alarming exacerbation of these trends in the aftermath of Donald Trump's election."  :panic:

It likely appeals even more  to my cognitive biases then.  ;D
 

Colin Parkinson

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FJAG speaks about women's right south of the border, interestingly enough the further south you go, the less rights the woman gets in regards to abortion and contraceptives. I find it amusing that many peoples criticism stop just North of the Mexican border. The US is a complex place when discussing legal and moral issues, with at least 52 different legal views on the matters. It's a bad habit we all have to consider it as a singular entity.
 

Kirkhill

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Journeyman said:
I'll continue with a slight  tangent by recommending Tom Nichols, The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters.  While the conflict between 'science' and 'religion' (as noted in this thread) is not remotely new, this book looks at a growing divide against thinking and expertise, writ large.
The updated version, which I haven't read, covers "the alarming exacerbation of these trends in the aftermath of Donald Trump's election."  :panic:

It likely appeals even more  to my cognitive biases then.  ;D

The problem, as I see it, is that regardless of the basis on which opinions are based, scientific, political or religious belief, any individual has the ability to be disruptive of the social fabric.  That includes people with whom we disagree.

Our system of governance, as explicitly defined during the liberal era of 1867, did not aspire to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, or even Truth and Justice. It offered only Peace, Order and Good Governance - a system based on pragmatism, compromise and accommodation.  In my view the key word here is "Order".  Not used in the sense of "Ordnung muss Sein" but rather in the sense of the Speaker call the House to Order.  Order is not imposed externally.  Order is requested from people exercising self-restraint and self-discipline.

To be blunt the issue is not who owns the Truth.  Who is Right.  We had been down that path long  before the British experiment.  And it continued in conflict with the British experiment right through to the present day.  In the past the argument was given that any fool with a pound in his pocket could publish the most outrageous statements on those new-fangled presses of Gutenberg that Caxton imported into Britain.  Next thing you knew academicians were taking it upon themselves to communicate amongst themselves, meet without official sanction at the local taverns and form invisible colleges.  They were publishing opinions that any sane establishmentarian could understand the need for prohibiting.  Neither the problem nor the responses are new or unique to our era.

Again, the issue is not one of being right.  It is simply one of managing society so that people can live peaceably and provide for themselves and their families.  And, my belief is, that the majority of people are highly tolerant of compromise so long as they do not find a fist in contact with their nose.

One opinion is worth exactly one vote.

 

Brad Sallows

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Leaving the specific aside to focus on the general: understanding others' point of view is key to understanding (properly, rather than creating and substituting strawmen to knock down) why they hold it, and the intensity with which they hold it.  The intensity in particular explains why people violate the my-punch-ends-at-your-nose limit.

People who strongly believe that something is deeply wrong should be expected to continue the fight until they win.  This expectation may be applied to any social issue important enough to any faction.

I hypothesize that the best outcome on any such issue - given infinite determination of the parties at odds - is a compromise, with an interminable low level of dissatisfaction on all sides.  The more one party "wins" and pushes the other to the wall, the more incivility and violence will result.  If a faction in ascendancy yields nothing, eventually the blow-back will be worse than any of the concessions/accommodations it might have made.
 

FJAG

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Getting back to the Trinity Western situation, and stretching the issue from pure religious issues to conservatism, here's an interesting article about the impact that the conservative oriented Federalist Society has had, and is having, on the USSC candidate selection process.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/leonard-leo-supreme-court-federalist-society_us_5b354230e4b0f3c2219f4082

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalist_Society

In brief, the Federalist Society is a national organization of some 60-70,000 US conservative and libertarian law students and lawyers (out of a total population of some 1.4 million lawyers in the US - and yes, I too think that's way too many)

Their executive vice president Leonard Leo has been instrumental in providing advice to several Republican presidents (including Trump) in selecting supreme court and federal appeal court justices. Five recent USSC justices (including Scalia) have been members of the Federalist Society and 24 of the 25 names on Trumps current list of nominees are members or have been involved in the Society's activities.

So far, Trump has confirmed one Supreme Court justice, 20 district court judges and a whopping 21 circuit court judges ― more than any president has confirmed by this point in office and nearly one-eighth of all circuit court seats.

“Selecting nominees from The Federalist Society ensures that the right will cement the hold they have on the judiciary for the next several decades,” said Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice, a left-leaning judicial advocacy group.

“What they have in common is an exceptional hostility to the progress that’s been made in this country since the New Deal, whether that’s to workers, civil rights litigants, women, consumers or people who care about the environment,” Aron said. “Nominees being confirmed by the Republican Senate today would have been deemed unqualified even under President George W. Bush because of their extremism.”

Amazing what a small determined group can do if you let it.

:cheers:
 

Colin Parkinson

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Things are run by those who show up. The Left biggest issue is that much of it's support is a mile wide and a inch deep. Many of them won't be bothered to vote.
 

FJAG

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Colin P said:
Things are run by those who show up. The Left biggest issue is that much of it's support is a mile wide and a inch deep. Many of them won't be bothered to vote.

Too true.

:cheers:
 

Kirkhill

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Brad Sallows said:
Leaving the specific aside to focus on the general: understanding others' point of view is key to understanding (properly, rather than creating and substituting strawmen to knock down) why they hold it, and the intensity with which they hold it.  The intensity in particular explains why people violate the my-punch-ends-at-your-nose limit.

People who strongly believe that something is deeply wrong should be expected to continue the fight until they win.  This expectation may be applied to any social issue important enough to any faction.

I hypothesize that the best outcome on any such issue - given infinite determination of the parties at odds - is a compromise, with an interminable low level of dissatisfaction on all sides.  The more one party "wins" and pushes the other to the wall, the more incivility and violence will result.  If a faction in ascendancy yields nothing, eventually the blow-back will be worse than any of the concessions/accommodations it might have made.

Just trying to choose between analogies - managing a low-grade fever - OR - operating as a high-functioning alcoholic.    ;D
 

Colin Parkinson

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Colin P said:
Things are run by those who show up. The Left biggest issue is that much of it's support is a mile wide and a inch deep. Many of them won't be bothered to vote.

Hate to quote self, but another concern the left (particularly the NDP) is the slow loss of Union support, both from shrinking unions and conflict between environmentalists and union workers. The union worker is generally far more likely to vote, donate and volunteer to help their local candidate, than your average environmentalist ranter. I admit this is a generalist statement, but it holds some truth. Someone that donates, votes and volunteer is almost worth the equivalent of 3 vote, as they can make it possible to motivate and help others to vote, just a simple thing like identifying elderly supporters and helping them get to the correct polling station can have a major impact. 
 

mariomike

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Colin P said:
The union worker is generally far more likely to vote, donate and volunteer to help their local candidate, than your average environmentalist ranter.

I've been retired from the union for over nine years. The union had only one mission: to improve the lives and livelihoods of its members.

Because of that, political candidates were viewed through a very narrow focus.

 

Kirkhill

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Chris Pook said:
.....
What am I trying to say?

Not all Protestants are Evangelicals.  Not all Evangelicals are Protestants.  In fact not all evangelicals are even Christian or particularly god-fearing.

Most of the most fervent evangelicals, proselytizers, that I encounter these days are not Protestants, largely a dying array of sects, but are in fact socialists, atheists, environmentalists and Muslims.  They seem to be the people most interested in spreading the good news, converting me, redeeming me, saving me, invading the public square with their beliefs.

....


Apparently I am not the only one to perceive things this way:

Douglas Murray, .... (his) take on how contemporary secularists can be just as dogmatic (and problematic) as the conventionally faithful:

Murray: We may be in the midst of discovering that the only thing worse than religion is its absence. I mean, every day there’s a new dogma. They’re stampeding to create new religions all the time at the moment, [with] every new heresy that’s invented. And they’re not as well thought-through as past heresies. They don’t always have the bloody repercussions yet, but you can easily foresee a situation in which they do. A new religion is being created as we speak by a new generation of people who think they are non-ideological, who think they’re very rational, who think they’re past myth, who think they’re past story, who think they’re better than their ancestors and who have never bothered to even study their ancestors.

This from a review in the Spectator on a discussion among Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris and Douglas Murray at the O2 Arena in London (UK) before 8000 paying customers who attended for the pleasure of hearing them debate.

https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2018/07/primates-like-us-having-conversations-this-is-the-best-game-in-town-jordan-peterson-sam-harris-and-douglas-murray-at-the-02-reviewed/


And T6 - I lied -  :whistle:  I can't seem to cure the addiction.

 

a_majoor

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Noting that modern Progressivism is indeed a new "religion" isn't really a new observation (and indeed it is not even limited to "modern" Progressivism, the Communists were pretty efficient at dealing with "heretics", and you can arguably look at the Terror during the French Revolution as the first truly modern instance of secularism as a religion).

This is likely the reason that political discourse is poisoned, you are not arguing rational points and facts, but going up against theological positions. This isn't going to be an easy thing to fix, one argument about the breaking of the religious mindset and setting the stage for the Enlightenment was the great Lisbon earthquake of 1755, which was so profoundly shattering to the prevailing world view that other ideas gained traction. One can only imagine what sort of event of this magnitude would be in the modern age......
 

pbi

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FJAG said:
Amazing what a small determined group can do if you let it.

:cheers:

I've never been comfortable with the idea of the politicization of the judiciary, (Left or Right), which is what we seem to get from having political parties and their funders get involved in the process. To me it seems to go totally against the idea of a truly independent judiciary, since their appointments are so clearly done to further the agenda of the party with the power to appoint.

I have a hard time seeing what it is in politicians that makes them capable of divining if a judge is any good or not, as opposed to just being "reliable and useful"

I can't say that electing them is any better: IMHO that's just another form of politicization. I once heard a judge in the US comment that to pass a particular judgement would be "suicide for my political career". What is the functional difference between that and judges being swayed by popular opinion, rather than by the rule and spirit of the law?

Do I know how to replace political appointment of judges? No, not just at the moment, I don't. But it seems to me that there must be a better, less partisan way to do it.
 
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