The “When” is Part of the “If”: Sharpton, Race, and Abortion

I’m so thankful for Rick Santorum and his unequivocal stand for the constitutional rights of the unborn.  In this interview at least, he’s an example of what a thoughtful, clear, gracious pro-lifer should be.  

As the video shows, Al Sharpton isn’t any of those things.  Apparently, Rev. Sharpton thinks that raising his voice raises the moral quality of his points.  It doesn’t.

Sharpton does, however, do a good job confusing the issue.  Santorum’s point is that the issue of personhood for the unborn is very similar (if not the same) as the issue of personhood for African-Americans.  Sharpton’s point is that these two issues have nothing to do with one another.  Sharpton is wrong.  Here’s why:

  1. Denying when someone becomes human is very much the same as denying that someone is human.  Sharpton says these two issues are not the same; but we all know that if the debate were over African-American personhood before, say, the age of 18, he would be quickly up in arms.  “You can’t deny personhood to blacks under 18!”  But, for the pro-death camp, we can do the same to children under the age of birth.
  2. The when is intrinsically part of the if.  The “when” is the “if” up until a certain point.  If you attach an age on personhood, then you are denying personhood to those under that age, just like we did to African-American slaves.
  3. The when is subsumed under the if.  Not only is the question of “when” part of the question of “if,” it is also a subset of it. In any discussion of “if,” the “when” must always be agreed upon.  

To put it another way, everyone agrees that US citizens were wrong to treat African-American slaves as non-citizens, as less than full people, as less than human.  So, before that was changed with the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, were we not in the wrong when we treated them as non-persons? If a 45-year-old man became a citizen on July 9, 1868, were we not wrong to deny him personhood when he was 44, or 35, or 12, or 2?  Was not our failure in “if” also a failure in “when”?

History, logic, and the Bible say yes, which is why Rev. Sharpton’s argument fails, at whatever volume.

HT: Hermonta Godwin


About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

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