Gordon Robinson | Today’s Verzuz: Dogma and reason
Like Billy Eckstein, I apologise.
Tuesdays are days for humour, satire and tongues lodged in cheeks. But Peter Espeut and Clinton Chisholm (separately) have forced me to be boring twice on one week. Ugh.
Peter’s columns are usually good even though he tends to rely on religious dogma which, based on his life experiences, is understandable. Whenever zealous Christians discuss mixed law and morality issues, it tends to mimic a Dance Hall Verzuz between DJs Dogma and Reason.
Recently, his high standard has risen even further. His June 3 treatise on Democracy, (‘ How to win the trust of the people’), didn’t referencing any religious dogma. My presumptuous executive summary has him proposing there can be no real democracy without trust.
As Hank Kingsley (look him up) would say “Applesauce!”
“ I’ve come to believe Jamaican politicians ... don’t care if they are thought to be corrupt or not … . Simply making donations public and publishing their inventory of assets would go a far way to fostering public trust.”
‘Kareck’. Oh, Peter, this glorious quest for trust is an impossible dream (see what I did there?) unless Jamaica, led by opinion influencers like you, radically reconstructs its colonial governance system and introduces government by the people for the people.
On July 1, (‘The principle of retribution’), he did it again, but fell back on biblical references (all necessary to support his point). He argued capital punishment, when based on biblical “eye-for-an-eye” dogma, was an example of progress from earlier more barbaric principles of retribution.
Again, he’s ‘correctamundo’. But Peter, that a rapist once brutally attacked without warning, but now asks first before ignoring adverse response, can’t justify rape. God’s promise, delivered through Moses, was: If you love your neighbour as yourself, you won’t kill anyone.
I keep saying, popular promotion of the death penalty is born of a misunderstanding of death. Death isn’t a ‘penalty’. It’s a process we all must experience and a sentence handed down from conception. Those more spiritually than religiously advanced know that; just as birth is the process of travel from God to this mortal toil (created by God to experience relativity), so is death merely the portal through which we trek to return home.
So death can never be a penalty. Depending on worldly circumstances, it can often be a relief (ask any suicide victim or terminal patient wracked with pain). It’s ALWAYS a reward for doing our bit during enforced separation from God.
What Peter fails to acknowledge is the paradox between his death penalty support and strict anti-abortion stance. Protection of the child before birth, as so skillfully explained by another of my religiously intense friends, Clinton Chisholm, is the most necessary protection of life. But neither realises the inherent inconsistency in their dogma-based arguments.
An eye for an eye was progress, but isn’t justice.
“Abortion laws don’t cut against a woman’s right to reproduce, but limit her right to terminate the fruit of exercising her reproductive right ... . In law as in gynaecology ... the vulnerable unborn is accorded special protection …”.
So, he argues, since a pregnant woman has already exercised her right to reproduction “reproductive rights aren’t and, indeed, cannot be compromised or countered by any abortion law, however strict”.
Clinton insists he understands women’s challenges with unwanted pregnancies; empathises with women pregnant by rape/incest; and appreciates the dilemma of toss-up scenarios between the lives of mother and child. But he maintains his support for abortion laws, “however strict”, on the narrow basis that they don’t interfere with reproductive rights.
Really, Clinton? Seriously? Is conception the ONLY reproductive right? What about prenatal healthcare (including medically advised abortions for whatever reason)? Does ‘reproduction’ END at conception? Or is it a process that STARTS at conception, travels through pregnancy, and ends at delivery?
Like me, neither Clinton nor Peter will ever be pregnant. So, if (like me) you’re anti-abortion, you should choose not to have one. But, just as you wouldn’t interfere with someone who kills an attacker in self-defence (or defence of others), please don’t get involved with a woman who acts similarly in choosing abortion, especially by criminalising her defensive action. It’s. Just. Not. Our. Business!
As the perfect man, did Jesus give any advice on these issues Clinton? Peter?
Peace and Love.
Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.