By David Tulis
If God is personal, as Christians claim, it is reasonable to believe that He is affronted by what is impersonal. The kingdoms of God’s rivals, those who would deny his jurisdiction and claim upon every man and woman, are characterized by a pathology of impersonalism that spreads outward into every field and endeavor.
Human relation is made unreachable in many ways. In pornography, ‡ bureaucracy, mass schooling and mass media. In a troubled marriage, impersonalism controls; hearts are hardened, unreachability makes divorce a remedy.
The right to life is another casualty of the power of the impersonal.
On the question of whether one’s baby should be born or aborted, the impersonal paradigm controls when a mom chooses to visit a clinic to end her pregnancy.
The shadowy figure in the Raybans
If God the Father through the embodiment of Jesus stands near on your right hand, drawing the woman with an unwanted pregnancy toward himself by effectual grace, who, then, is the figure on your left?
Yes, this one whose heavy-framed Raybans are taking you in, this Joe Camel whose expression is impossible to fathom and whose purposes are unreadable. Taking a cue from God but secretly mocking Him, he has a plan for your life, too, all for your benefit. His abortion plan serves both you — and him. It will aid his cash flow, generate a quarterly profit and satisfy the authorities. Upon you it will sprinkle certain benefits and keep you, as it were, on the database as a registered person who glanced hurriedly at the user’s agreement and clicked OK for all that comes next.
Simple gospel verities have the power to touch the soul and commit one to a personal dealing with a gracious God, the world of the corporation promises a contradictory set of benefits: Realism, alienation, disillusionment, anomie and solitude. Corporations may have existed since the time of Roman tax-farming publicans; they may have brains and may help organize capital and labor and socialize risk; they provide the form of efficient modern government propelled by credit. But they don’t have hearts. In a world of commercial government and corporate statism, a woman bearing an unwanted child is merely a human resource that needs to be pacified and served, and she doesn’t have a soul, either.
Let’s explore that last possibility.
Corporations are nonhuman persons that are also referred to as artificial persons, fictitious persons or legal persons. “A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law,” notes the legal encyclopedia, American Jurisprudence 2d. “As a mere creature of law, it possesses only those properties which the charter of its creation confers upon it, either expressly or as incidental to its very existence; *** a corporation is not a natural person, but rather an artificial person, that is, a legal fiction, or a creature of statute.”
What in French is known as a société anonyme, a corporation has perpetual life until dissolved, has the power to own property and hold real estate, to sue and be sued. Its identity is separate and distinct from that of its owners or shareholders, and must be thought of without reference to the members who compose it. It acts through its officers, directors or other agents.
“So far as property rights are concerned,” notes American Jurisprudence, “a private corporation is a ‘person’ within the meaning of the provisions of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States that no person will be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”
Corporations in scripture?
A 2010 decision in the U.S Supreme Court, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, discusses at length whether corporations have the same first amendment free speech rights as do flesh and blood people. “The ruling came the week of the annual March for Life, which draws thousands to Washington to mark that same court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling,” columnist Cal Thomas said. “The march has become not so much a protest as an affirmation of the value of all human life. What makes the ruling and the march ironic is that the 1973 court, in essence, downgraded a human fetus to the level of nonperson, while the modern court has invested ‘personhood’ in corporations.”
The scriptures argue that every thought, word and deed is the fruit of a religious conviction, that is, a belief about God and ultimate causes. There are two categories the Christian ethic insists upon. On one side, the rule of faith and life conforming to God’s will and revelation. On the other, the rule of life hostile to these.
The corporation represents a way of life and a mode of being that is contradicted by the faithful sayings of the Bible. Corporations are not inherently evil as a means of business and social organization, but the world of Joe Camel excludes the soul and represents materialistic and rational functions of men and profit.
Jesus’ penetrating relationships
Several incidents with Christ suggest the distinction between real persons and artificial ones by indicating how personal Jesus is.
➤ In a conversation with Nicodemus, who approached him at night, Jesus says that condemnation has come into the world because men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds be exposed” John 3:20. Notice this personal interaction, an extended conversation between the Son of God and a man. So deep does the conversation go that Jesus commands Nicodemus to be born again, something no man has the power within himself to fulfill.
➤ Jesus converses with a Samaritan woman at a well at such length that the disciples “marveled” (John 4). It was custom in old Israel to despise Samaritans for their ancestry and their false worship, yet Jesus has a prolonged interaction with her and reveals that He knows all about her personal life.
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband.’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”
Later, she wins the Lord a following among her people, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ? *** And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman ***.” God and his people today communicate personally, through revelation of the Word and by means of prayer and worship. Personal relationship apart from social convention.
➤ Jesus gazes upon a pleading noblemen. The man’s son is near death. Will Jesus heal him? Jesus makes an off-putting comment. But the petitioner persists. Jesus says to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” Later, confirming from his servants the hour of the son’s delivery from death, the Galilee squire “believed, and his whole household.” Jesus extends divine — and personal — mercy, even from afar (John 4:47-53).
➤ When Jesus faces a vast multitude of people eager to listen, He takes a lad’s five barley loaves and two small fish, and miraculously feeds thousands of men and their families. Might leftovers of bread, created instantly by a miracle, not easily be tossed aside after the crowd had gone? “So when they were filled, He said to His disciples ‘Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.’ Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten” (John 6:5:13).
Just because bread is miraculously made does not mean it can be left as discard under a tree or next to a wall, for all the trouble it would be to carry them away. Some soul can make use of that bread; pick it up, take it along, maybe give it to someone who is hungry. Again, personal and precious are the gifts of God. No bread is wasted, no beloved soul overlooked.
Who are the people who perform abortion?
Since Chattanoogans shuttered an abortion clinic, women seeking to destroy their children before birth have to go to other cities. There, they deal with a corporation with limited liability, its doctors shielded by the Tennessee Code, federal court opinions, insurance policies and vicious, very realistic lawyers held on retainer.
Why such multiple shields? To defend against malpractice against your persona propria (Latin for your proper and real person).
In a way, the people who intend to terminate your pregnancy are not persons.
While having male or female sex, just like your baby, and names like ED PERRY and SUSIE CRAWLEY, they rather are corporate actors, agents, statutory employees or contractors, and they are performing a surgery that takes a human life and usually badly damages the patient and imposes a malevolent outcome on her person. ‡‡ Very few men or women today would act personally to do such a thing on a living human being of a baby boy or baby girl properly recognized. They will readily do it behind the shroud of the corporate shell, protected by the veil that every Tennessee and Georgia clinic is guaranteed as part of its privileges and immunities under state charter.
They will do it for a great cause of the liberation of women and the equalizing of all people. Some might be willing to share in some personal liability, as their motive is ideological, even religious.
Protected by the duopoly of the Democrat and Republican leisure class and by compliant bureaucrats for nearly 40 years, the abortion industry is just that, an industry. It may not have smokestacks, but it produces waste products, among which might be the remains of your baby boy or girl. The industry produces a sort of pollution that our federal masters at the Environmental Protection Agency won’t care about. That is to say, a moral pollution and a true, wretched guilt, a wash of scummy oil on the inside of your skin that no amount of weeping will wash away and no amount of blotting will dry. These stains will bleed through your later years like a birthmark that no amount of Oil of Olay will hide.
Yes, I am pro-choice
I like that there is a choice between the personal and the impersonal. The grace of God on every person in your position is unmerited and undeserved, but generously given, and effectual unto salvation in time. Salvation unto God, as the doctrines of Christianity assert, is a personal gift that brings with it invitations to many other deepenings, including a place at the table in the Lord’s Supper, a rite obscure to you perhaps but dear to every Christian.
Why would anyone live under the blank mathematical stare of one’s enemies when she can enjoy living under God’s personal care and penetrating gaze, as that which stirred the Samaritan woman at the well? When God gives the slightest breath of grace, it is an act of self-preservation to take a single step in that direction.
‡ For an unusual look at pornography, read this essay by Lauren Dubinksy.
‡‡ These folks ran the Chattanooga Women’s Clinic that destroyed more than 30,000 babies between 1975 and 1993.