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Rev. Duncan Gray explains why he is against Proposition 26

Update: Some folks may be coming here from a comment at Balloon Juice that notes that ” The law is so nutty that a Catholic bishop opposes it.”    While this post is about the law being so nutty a Episcopal bishop opposes it, a Catholic bishop here also opposes it.

I have been collecting material for a post on this subject, but then saw this and thought it worth a post of its own.   It is from Bishop Gray of the Episcopal Church in Mississippi (the text of the letter is at the link on the Episcopal Church’s site right now, but obviously that’s not a permalink):

My dear friends,

My deep reservations about abortion and the death penalty grow out of my abiding belief in the sanctity of human life and the arbitrary nature of these actions. I am not, however, a pacifist in regards to war. I do believe that some very serious moral decisions are not simply choices between good and evil, but rather in the case of two evils, choices between the lesser of two evils. Such is the complexity of human moral decision-making in a fallen world.

I appreciate the intentions of those who have supported Proposition 26, what has been called the Personhood Amendment. I share their passion for the sanctity of human life. However, I am gravely concerned about the unintended consequences of this legislation. The moral nightmares of doctors no longer able to give preference to saving the life of the mother in such cases as an ectopic pregnancy and the uncertain impact on in-vitro fertilization are real. Thus, the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Medical Association has announced that it cannot support this legislation.

The legal nightmares arising from this legislation are also very real. The word “person” is used over 9,400 times in the Mississippi Annotated Code and the implications for mass confusion and decades of legal challenges over every use of the term are staggering.

For their own reasons, Roman Catholic bishops in several states, including Mississippi, have said they could not support this particular legislation.

While I recognize the complexities of such moral decisions and the need for each of us to make our own informed and prayerful choices, you need to know that I share the aforementioned concerns about the unintended consequences of this legislation. Thus, I cannot support Proposition 26 on the November 8th ballot in Mississippi.

Please feel free to share this letter with whomever you wish.

The Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray, III

60 comments to Rev. Duncan Gray explains why he is against Proposition 26

  • P.B. Pike

    An immodest proposal, Floyd Pink.

    I have always had serious moral reservations about the termination of a pregnancy, and I agree that Roe v. Wade is a travesty of legal reasoning, but there are moral and public health implications other than the definition of life in the “personhood” debate. If abortion and some forms of birth control were severely restricted or outlawed again, low-income women would bear the brunt of the adverse effects, just as they did before Roe. The horrors of back alley abortions were real, and it does the moralizing, Christian legions of the so-called “pro-life” movement no credit when they dismiss or ignore the women, the vast majority of whom are poor, that their cause would imperil the most. The fact that this referendum is happening in Mississippi, a state with a critical percentage of women living below or near the poverty line, highlights the empty-headed, piously self-serving nature of this movement and adds to its shame.

  • Anderson

    When birth control is a mandatory subject in schools; when the state provides free child care from newborns to school age; when the state pays a stipend to mothers for their work as mothers; when society treats an unmarried mother as a builder of society rather than as a slut — then come back and talk to me about outlawing abortion.

    Until then, it seems evident that there is no pro-life movement, just an anti-sex and anti-women movement.

  • Floyd Pink

    I can’t speak for the whole Right Wing Christian Pro-Life Movement but I will admit that I am uncomfortable with all the s-e-x. Eve pretty much fucked that up for us.

    If we could abort only the female babies, I would be ok with that because that would ultimately make the whole problem moot. No women, no s word, no abortion, no problem. I would want to kill the gay male babies as well on general principle and for insurance. If we were to let them stick around, the ole Devil might fit one with a uterus somewhere down the line and then we would be right back at square one. We don’t want that!

  • P.B. Pike

    Floyd Pink, you get the Rachel Maddow award for dead-on-arrival attempt at humor in place of reasoned argument.

    p.s. please don’t resort to your usual tactic of a psuedo-clever parting shot followed by abdicating the thread. Sack up and answer.

  • Floyd Pink

    In working with alcoholics for many years I developed the ability to quickly discern whether a person is surrendered, whether they are able to hear, to reason and to take direction. I learned that it is a complete waste of time to work with an unsurrendered alcoholic and learned to move on quickly and make myself available to those who are ready. Surrender is an inside deal, it can’t be faked and you can’t teach another how to do it.

    Metaphorically, you are an unsurrendered alcoholic. I can’t reason with you so I just play around and move on. I think your self righteous attacks are funny and when I don’t have anything better to do I enjoy fucking with you and those like you. I get some type of sick pleasure out of it. Oh well, it beats smoking crack.

  • P.B. Pike

    How would you know whether reason works with me or anybody else? You don’t reason at all, dude. And of all people, you shouldn’t lecture anybody on self-righteousness. I mean, what you just posted belongs in the self-righteousness hall of fame. I’m supposed to effect an inner surrender of some unknown sort to hear your argument? This self-congratulatory description of picking through the alcoholics to find a few worthy of your counsel says waaaaay more about you than it does those poor souls. “I enjoy fucking with you and those like you” should be the new motto of the unrepentant narcissist.

    Looks like it’s another pseudo-clever abdication of the thread by Floyd Pink. I tried, folks. At least ColRebSez defends his crazy positions, relentlessly in fact. Something to be said for that.

    Pink, did you run for public office recently? I’m starting to wonder…

  • Franklin

    Anderson—Supporting marriage, family and sex within marriage IS supporting women, children, sex and life.  Certainly society should also care for fatherless children and unwed mothers, while simultaneously encouraging the former. 

    But are you seriously advocating abortion as a reasonable alternative to birth control, childcare, welfare payments, and unwed motherhood??!!!??!! Cause that is just sad.

  • DeltaLawMama

    While you men pontificate about on what I find to be a very personal subject, I would like to point out the following:
    1) For those Biblically driven folks, life begins at the quickening which is approximately 20 weeks (See Pentateuch) and I find strange that Creationist want to disregard this part of the Bible;
    2)Modern research shows that 1/3 of all pregnancies end naturally before birth, so it begs the question, “Does God make junk?”;
    3) Earliest U.S. legislation regulating abortion began in the Mid-Nineteenth Century to consolidate the procedure in the medical profession (via lobbyists) and away from midwives (a profession since Biblical times);
    4) Reproductive medical choices involving abortion, birth control, and infertility should be between a woman, her physician, and her God (no intercessor necessary);
    5) Of the women I know who have had abortions, none want another one, and would avoid it like the plague, no legislation is necessary.

  • Franklin

    To be true to the thread—I find myself against the current personhood amendment.

    But the formulation of when “life begins” lacks clarity which leads to obfuscation of thought. Law, religion, Old Testament and constitutions aside—-the earliest stage of human development is indisputably the zygote, ie the joining of sperm and ovum. It is at that point that yet a third life “begins”.

    The legal, religious, ethical—and personal—question for us all is what to do about this unique fact.

  • Anonlawyer

    I had an abortion and it was a much better decision than going to law school. As far as I’m concerned the planet should give me an award for not having children. For one thing, no zillion diapers in landfills. For another, there are enough crazy people in my family inhabiting the earth. As far as I can tell, for every aborted future Einstein, there are probably 1000 aborted criminals.

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