It hurts to write this, but write it I must.
I was one of your first supporters in your U.S. Senate bid two years ago. I defended you from the moronic sludge thrown at you by Democrats (and sadly, a few Republicans) about your record. I took to this blog to give badly needed context to the attacks aimed at you over your Love Canal comments (note to readers, if you’re asking why I capitalized Love Canal, read this).
This is why I am so confused and disappointed at the comments attributed to you in the Staunton News-Leader.
To wit, there are two comments where you are quoted that, for obvious reasons, have gotten the most attention. Here’s the first:
The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children.
Of course, you can see why that would upset a number of people. Oddly enough, this wasn’t the quote that bothered me the most. Nature can be very, very cruel, in ways we don’t anticipate. Hobbes didn’t call the state of nature “nasty, brutish, and short” for nothing.
It was the second quote attributed to you that bothered me (emphasis added):
In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment Christians would suggest.
Come again? I find it very hard to believe Christians “suggest” the Lord inflicts punishment upon children for the sins of their parents. As I understand it (and I admit I am no theologian), the only sin we inherited was Original Sin. Full Stop.
There are so many ways this statement troubles; the general inference that disabled children are somehow punishments handed down by the Lord is the one that has generated the most heat (here‘s one of the gentler exmaples, and like JR, I disagree with that inference strongly), but there are others that – I hope – you will answer with something akin to you-know-I-really-didn’t-think-that-through.
- Are we to assume that the Lord values first-born children more than subsequent ones? Is he less upset if a second-, third-, or later conceived child is murdered in the womb than the first-born?
- Do the opinions of the parents count for nothing? Can a mother or father repent? Or is this the one sin whose punishment not only affects innocents, but is also irreversible?
- Assuming the initial statement you made is true (and usually, you research these things well enough to ensure that), is this really something we should tout in such a manner? Would it not be better to describe it as an unfortunate effect that should be combatted to the best of our ability by the medical community? As I recall, several in the pro-life community have noted some correlation between abortion and breast cancer (note to readers: correlation does not imply causality, so take it easy), but I know of no respectable person who claimed the suffering of breast cancer as a proper pennance or atonement.
Bear in mind, this comes from one of your longest admirers in the blogosphere. Please, tell me that this admiration and energy was not in vain.