The nomination hearings for Amy Comey Barrett will revolve around only one issue. Abortion. There are reasons why this is happening.
On Saturday President Trump nominated Amy Comey Barrett to fill the vacancy left by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Senate hearings will however be pure theater. Abortion supporters will try to derail Barrett’s confirmation if possible.
This singular focus is due partly to our Enlightenment culture and scarred conscience. Let’s first talk about the Enlightenment. Descartes gave voice to it. “I think, therefore I am.” Enlightenment thinkers felt that in the past too much authority had been vested in authorities. Rational individuals decide for themselves matters big and small.
Matters such as unborn lives. In Roe v. Wade (1973), the Court reflected Enlightenment thinking. It ruled that when the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus regarding the beginning of life, “the judiciary is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.”
No consensus exists because the center no longer holds. In their original design, the university’s disciplines of medicine and philosophy revolved around theology. Knowledge cohered, providing a coherent consensus on issues. Enlightenment thinkers relegated theology to an outer orbit, so disciplines are no longer able to arrive at any consensus.
The result is incoherent Court decisions. Take Roe v. Wade. The ruling essentially says we can’t speculate on when life begins, so go ahead and abort. Hunters find this incoherent. Their maxim: If something moves in the woods, but you’re not sure what it is, don’t shoot.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) is even more incoherent. “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Astonishing – until we remember that Descartes believed the individual is the final authority on life’s big questions.
Our incoherence reminds us a nation cannot scar its collective conscience without suffering grave consequences. Since 1973, 50 million babies have been aborted. God forms human life in the womb, so this is 50 million unborn lives murdered.
Pro-abortion people don’t like hearing the word murder. But it must be said. Breaking God’s laws (“Thou shalt not murder”) corrodes our conscience, that tender God-given capacity in every individual that either accuses us when we are doing wrong or defends us when we are doing right (Rom.2:15). A corroded conscience flips the switch. It defends us when we do wrong and makes others the problem.
Watch this play out in the nomination hearings. Barrett is a thoughtful, ardent Catholic. Abortion supporters will try to depict as a religious fanatic. Not the first time in history that this has happened. The English Slave Trade was a murderous business. William Wilberforce worked to abolish it. He was often depicted as a religious fanatic.
He wasn’t of course. Wilberforce was simply pointing out where Britain was going wrong. Sir James Mackintosh noted this in his tribute to Wilberforce: “I never knew a man who did more to evoke the conscience of the British people.”
Regardless of how the hearings play out, I pray that the conscience of the American people might be evoked to recognize that all lives matter, including those of the unborn.