Sugar-Coated Killing

It is a basic truth that those engaged in evil will try to lie about it, or seek to cover it up with nice-sounding euphemisms. Sure, many are quite bold and forthright about their evil, and don’t even seek to make excuses for it or try to make it sound other than what it is.

(Of course there is a third category here: those who actually think their evil is just fine. As Edward Feser once wrote: “A man who knows that what he does is evil but does it anyway is corrupt; a man who has become so desensitized to the evil he does that he can no longer even perceive it as evil is even more corrupt.”)

But most folks involved in their sordid practices resort to language games to con a gullible public. This of course has been a long-standing practice. Back in 1946 George Orwell wrote an essay about all this. Entitled “Politics and the English Language” he made some solid points about this tendency. Let me offer just one quote:

“In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification.

“Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism.

“He cannot say outright, ‘I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so.’ Probably, therefore, he will say something like this: ‘While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement’.”

While I do not agree with all of his examples of things which are indefensible, I like his main point. And of course it is not just politicians who are guilty of this. Anyone engaged in evil acts seeks to hide it and camouflage it with euphemisms and doubletalk.

The abortion industry is obviously a perfect illustration of all this. The pro-death camp (and that is really what it is – there will be no euphemisms from me here) endlessly uses euphemisms of all sorts to cover up what they are really up to.

Thus we hear the term “termination of pregnancy” as an example. Well, what is of course terminated is the life of an innocent unborn child. And we already have a fully natural and acceptable way of ending a pregnancy – it is called birth.

Now if it is true that the “fetus” which is being “terminated” is not really human but just a blob of protoplasm, or at best, “a potential life”, then abortion is not much different than clipping a fingernail. But if the fetus is indeed a living human being, then the whole story changes.

The question of when a human life begins is of the utmost importance. As F. LaGard Smith puts it, “When it comes to human life, we dare not play games with either doubts or definitions. If, in fact, we cannot decide when human life begins, then we cannot safely assume that it hasn’t begun. At a minimum, the almost universal agreement that an unborn fetus is both human and living must raise a presumption in favor of human life. Are we prepared to find out that we’ve been wrong all along in denying the obvious?”

The stakes are indeed too high. Consider this case: how would a hunter fare in a court of law if, while hunting, he had shot at a movement in the bush and killed, not a bird, but a fellow hunter? Surely the judge would ask, “If you were not sure, why did you shoot?” The burden of proof must lie with those who contend that human life is not being eliminated.

Or as ethicist John Frame says, “An arbitrary decision in a matter of life and death is an impossibility. If someone argues for the destruction of an organism on the premise that it is not a human person, surely he must be obligated to prove that premise; he may not claim the right to assume it arbitrarily.”

Political philosopher J. Budziszewski takes this train of thought even further: “But even if it were true that we do not know what babies are – a point I do not concede – why should we say that because the baby might not be human we may kill him? Why not say that because he might be, we should protect him? We do not say that because I might not hit anyone, I may swing my hatchet blindly in a crowded room; we say that because I might hit someone, I shouldn’t.”

But the euphemisms continue apace. Consider just one very recent example coming from Ireland. As one report states, “The Irish Family Planning Association is Ireland’s ‘leading sexual health charity’ which ‘provides sexual health, family planning, pregnancy counselling and training services,’ according to its website.

“More accurately, however, it is a pro-choice organization that likes to suggest having an abortion is no different than getting your tonsils removed. The ‘charity,’ along with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (surprise), recently released a video called, ‘Women Have Abortions Every Day: It’s Just One Choice,’ suggesting an abortion is as normal as opening a business, going to school, or even getting your tonsils out.”

Wow, we have a truckload full of euphemisms and just plain dodgy reasoning here. Yes women have abortions every day. And people run red lights every day and cheat on their partners every day, and gossip mercilessly about their neighbours every day too.

Just one choice? What about the baby’s choice? Does he or she have no choice here? I guess not. Oh, and opening a business and going to school are not only not immoral, but they usually do not entail killing another person either. Abortion of course is fully both: it is immoral and it kills another person.

A tonsil is not a distinct human being of course, just as a fingernail is not. The unborn baby is a completely distinct and unique individual, with his or her own DNA and genetic identity. If a mother wants to clip a nail or take out the garbage, that is up to her.

But she has no right to kill another human being who happens to be taking up residence in her womb for a short while. So we must tell the truth here, and resist euphemisms which only cover up the killing. The first duty in defending morality is to proclaim truth.

This is certainly the case in the abortion wars.

[1290 words]

22 Replies to “Sugar-Coated Killing”

  1. Could not agree more. However, there is one point missing and that is that every taxpayer is culpable as taxes are being use to murder the innocent.

    The question begs – who is responsible for the killing – the assassin or the person who engages the assassin?

    I beg to say that when any society can no longer look after its young, elderly or the frail then that society has begun to destroy itself from within.

    John Abbott

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more Bill. I am sickened by the number of abortions being performed just in this country. Not only is the woman able to demand an abortion even in the latter stages of pregnancy, but the Father has no say in the matter – nor, as you state, does the child. It really is well past time for the Church to arise!

    Joan Davidson

  3. 220 Babies a day in this country, and there is no outrage. One breakfast show host here in Australia expressed surprise that abortion was still an election issue in America – as if the matter were all settled in everyone’s mind that ‘ of course, choice is the only way.’
    Where is the outrage, I ask you? What % of Christians really care! It’s seldom mentioned in church.

    Rodney Gynther

  4. Well written Bill, I like the argument of the Hunter and Judge. The Gay lobby use this tactic too, by using the word “equality”.

    Johannes Archer

  5. Couldn’t agree with you more Bill. As you say what we need is truth and more truth and call a spade a spade, not a modified shovel. Enough of the use of euphemisms to justify the indefensible. Call abortion 1st degree murder and then see the public ire and outcry within society.

    Leigh D Stebbins

  6. Thanks Bill, many of us appreciate your work and like you are fed up with churches sugar coating or completely ignoring important issues, like abortion.
    I was heartened recently to hear this sermon from Mark Driscoll where he preaches about abortion. He definitely doesnt sugar coat anything.
    It is a sermon in his current series on the Ten Commandments and he is dealing with ‘Murder’.
    The whole thing is good but he begins talking on abortion from about 29 minutes.

    As I am continually discouraged by ‘churchiology’ I thank God for men like you and Mark.

    Annette Williams

  7. John Abbott 17.11.13 / 2pm:

    Could not agree more. However, there is one point missing and that is that every taxpayer is culpable as taxes are being use to murder the innocent.

    John it’s a bit more complex than that. We are not at liberty to tell the government how our taxes are used. So our culpability does not rest in the fact that we pay tax – what of those who are free of any tax liability?

    Our culpability is that we have failed as a community to vote and/or direct our representatives away from abortion, and towards affirming life. Or that we have allowed the pro-death activists to persuade our representatives of their case, without defending the pro-life case.

    This applies to both ends of life – abortion and euthanasia (now there’s another euphemism!)

    John Angelico

  8. It makes me very angry to listen to the hypocrisy of the MSM when discussing the problem of women consuming alcohol when they’re pregnant. You have experts jumping up from every corner saying how wrong this is (which it is) but then you have to listen to the same batch of people (not necessarily the same experts), about how it is a woman’s right to choose to kill her unborn baby. So in other words, having a baby is entirely dependent upon whether it is a convenience for the woman involved. If we are concerned about the effects of what a mother consumes during pregnancy how can we then turn around and say, ‘oh but it’s only a bunch of cells’ when we want to exterminate it.
    Thanks Bill.
    God Bless and keep up your good work.
    Elizabeth Hamilton

  9. This from the left, who abhor the wanton slaughter of animals and even trees. In this case they’re lucky, it’s just an unwanted human life.
    Graham Jose

  10. The funny thing is that it’s not woman who originally pushed for abortion. Men who want to have sex with a woman but didn’t want the tediousness of a relationship or marriage pushed for it. After all if a man has a mistress on the side, a baby is a sure fire way to prove it happened. Get rid of the baby get rid of the evidence. If you wanted a political carrier and a woman claims to have had sex with you while you were married, without a child it’s a case of his word against hers. Women are often pressured into killing the child to make it easier on them. After all how are you going to take care of the child.

    Men were able to have casual sex more often. Women lose the most from casual sex, which is one of the reasons why women traditionally have been less eager for it. By portraying it as a woman’s right, women defend what benefits men and attack anyone who try to stop it.

    John Mcallister

  11. What does everyone think is the best plan of attack on this issue? Christians have marched, have written letters to politicians, have funded organisations like The Priceless Life Centre. Can anyone suggest more that we could do? I pray daily about this. I too am concerned about my taxes being used for abortions. Is that the next step? To start railing on the politicians to have this removed in a more united way? Our current church in Brisbane at least speaks up about abortion quite strongly, praise God!

    Sharon Stay

  12. Very well written Bill.

    They are the solid agruements that should be out amongst the public.
    Instead, young women just get slogans thrown at them by the pro abortionists, while the public service, MSM, universities and political parties shut down all debate because they know it is absolutely wrong and can’t defend it.
    Young girls arn’t being told any different.
    Abortion is now intergenerational – ingraining itself into society like a family tree but with less branches. A family ‘tradition’ – nana was a liberator you know. Chelsea Clinton spoke like one.

    If society respected women then society would be informing young women with this information, long before they even have sex – in sex education classes. Not to do so, is to think that women are not fully human and incapable of thought, mere breeding cows. How ironic.[That’s an arguement; it should be illegal and not a choice.]

    It is murder. That’s why it was under the homicide laws. Homicide is the crime of killing humans. Kill a pregnant women and you can be charged with the babie’s homicide.

    God Bless Bill.

    Mike Marshall

  13. The argument of an abortion being no different than getting your tonsils out is not new, I remember it being aired at the time of the Australian RU486 debate and remember feeling sick then. An infected tonsil untreated will make a person very sick. A pregnancy left to run its course, all things considered will give life to another person. But even mentioning such simple logic makes them mad as it unwelcomely reminds them that someone other than them originated and runs reality.
    I am inclined to believe the account of the little boy’s visit to heaven which his father tells in the book “heaven is for real”. There the boy meets his sister, of whose existence he had never heard, for she died 2 months into her gestation.
    He also mentioned that there were lots of children there.
    I am not able to string a biblical argument together as to what age comparatively a person will appear in heaven, but my first thought was when I heard that was “they are all the aborted babies” and was able to rejoice. From what I know of the character of God through His word, I believe it could at least be true.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  14. Bill, If you follow the money trail you will find out why the abortionist like abortions. As I say humans are very inconsistant why should we homocide in law and yet kill babies.
    Neil Herbert

  15. One of the worst arguments ever provided by pro-choice zealots, when WA was legalising abortion back in 1998, was: “Women sometimes miscarry naturally, so why is it wrong to prevent them having abortions?”.

    Dunstan Hartley

  16. To Sharon Stay

    The way the system works today is there is the politicians the media and the people. The media acts as a gibberish interpreter, telling us when the Politicians are bad and telling politicians what issue are important to us. The media has the opportunity to criticise the leaders it likes and condemn the ones it hates. As the watchmen they can sound the alarm or open the gate to the invaders. They have power of a kind and they don’t get the penalty for their actions. Furthermore our school system teaches(or indoctrinates) kids to think in a certain way further exasperating the problem.

    The solution is to have competitor to the media. I have an idea on how to start. Train people up to survive a three on one argument with the referee on the side of the three against you. Find out the major arguments and think of a response before hand that puts them off their feet. The best response is not something that makes someone look bad but one which makes the both sides look good or one which makes them come to your side. Most people with phd’s like too feel that they are important and those who say otherwise are seen as a threat to their power.

    A feminist is best attacked by admiring about how they care for woman and women’s rights and to point out that some women are forced into abortions by men. Show how some men are abusing abortion rights then say that you wish women didn’t get forced into having abortion’s. Then you can bring up the dangers associated with abortions and comment about how these figures are suppressed and how they should be made public.

    I’m not good at public speaking but I know from experience that a direct attack doesn’t work. Some may disagree with my methods outlined but I think it is what is needed to fight back against the enemy we face.

    John McAllister

  17. Tasmanian baby-killing barbarians 1, defenders of civilisation and truth 0.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

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