Saturday, 26 May 2018
Matthew 28: 16-20
Than the ele’en discipels gaed awa intill Galilee, intill ane mountan whar Jesus had appoyntet them. An’ whan they saw him, they wurshippet him: but sume doubtet. An’ Jesus cam’ an’ spak’ untill them, sayin’, "A’ рowir is gien untill me in heæven an’ in yirth. Gae ye therfor, an’ teach a’ nationes, babteezin’ them in the name o’ the Faether, an’ o’ the Son, an’ o’ the Haly Ghaist: teachin’ them til tak’ tent til an’ do a’ things whatsaeevir I hae commandet уow: an’, lo, I am wi’ yow aye, een untill the en’ o’ the warld. Saebeid."
The Gospel of St. Matthew in Lowland Scotch, from the English Authorised Version. By H. S. Riddell (1856) here
Thursday, 24 May 2018
Not Irish. Not a woman. Two good reasons to keep out of this debate.
But then: Irvine Welsh. Not Irish. Not a woman. (And countless other non-Irish men of that ilk.)
Hoping for a huge YES vote in the Irish abortion referendum. Time to consign all those flat earth medieval clowns and their antiquated patriarchal pish to history’s garbage can.
— Irvine Welsh (@IrvineWelsh) 18 May 2018
So let's talk about men and to men...
1) My first memorable brush with the issue of abortion was as a student on a training day for a counselling service. I was pretty left wing in a slushy, undergraduate sort of way, but certainly would have signed up to all the usual shibboleths including abortion on demand. The presenter was a (male) GP who began by bad mouthing one of his partners (a female GP) who apparently had religious objections to contraception, abortion etc. He then enthusiastically went on about how easy it was to do an abortion secretely, describing how they had managed to get a girl into an abortion facility without her mother (female, cleaner at the hospital) ever knowing. It was all very gung-ho. Even at the time I thought it was utterly repulsive. And typically male.
2) Me. (Male.) Can't remember which of my wife's pregnancies it was but one of the 'routine' tests flagged up a heightened risk of one of those conditions which all sensible people abort. (I think it was Downs.) The next stage would have involved an amniocentisis with a risk of miscarriage. I confess I was slightly tempted: I was scared of having a child with a disability. Didn't even cross my wife's mind to accept the further test with the possibility of an abortion down the line. Not the first time I was reminded of the mother-child bond, nor the first time I was reminded of male inadequacy. (And neither of us were Catholics at that point.)
3) Welsh. (Writer not people. Male.) Would it be fair to describe him as patriarchal? He's a bit bullish anyway, hardly presents as quiche eating. Likes boxing apparently. Creates imaginary, druggy Lebenswelt which is striking rather than flourishing. Seems very certain of his own rightness on any number of issues including pish and abortion. Wants to leave it up to women by telling them how to vote.
4) The guy (that guy) who screams abuse at pro-life rallies or at pro-life women on Twitter. (Male.)
Men like Welsh are heavily involved in promoting abortion: the debate just wouldn't be the same, certainly in tone let alone substance if it were left to women. Moreover it's hard to think of a more patriarchal othering of women than reducing the multiplicity of views and feelings and even morality among real women on this subject to the simplistic 'Women think...', 'Trust women' etc etc. Reasoning regarding the status of an unborn child, bodily autonomy and the interaction of law and morality don't just disappear 'coz lady brain or summat'. I'd be perfectly happy to leave the debate to women because there are plenty of women who defend the pro-life position and, frankly, do so with more authority because they have more skin in the game than most men. But let me say this as a man to men: don't delude yourself that the creation of a culture in which 1 in 5 children are killed, where men encourage women to see abortion as a morally neutral issue, and where you push some ultra dumb narrative about bringing Ireland out of a world of 'flat earth medieval clowns and their antiquated patriarchal pish' into a glorious shiny future just like Britain's isn't more poisoned by patriarchy and indeed neo-colonialism than anything you'll see from the pro-Life side.
Let's leave the final word to a woman:
This immediately makes essentially relevant not only all the facts about human reproduction I mentioned above, but a whole range of facts about our emotions in relation to them as well. I mean such facts as that human parents, both male and female, tend to care passionately about their offspring, and that family relationships are among the deepest and strongest in our lives -and significantly, among the longest lasting.
These facts make it obvious that pregnancy is not just one among many other physical conditions; and hence anyone who genuinely believes that an abortion is comparable to a haircut or an appendectomy is mistaken. The fact that the premature termination of a pregnancy is, in some sense, the cutting off of a new human life, and thereby, like the procreation of a new human life, connects with all our thoughts about human life and death, parenthood and family relationships, must make it a serious matter. To disregard this fact about it, to think of abortion as nothing but the killing of something that does not matter, or as nothing but the exercise of some right or rights one has, or as the incidental means to some desirable state of affairs, is to do something callous and light-minded, the sort of thing that no virtuous and wise person would do. It is to have the wrong attitude not only to foetuses, but more generally to human life and death, parenthood, and family relationships.Rosalind Hursthouse (1997) 'Virtue theory and abortion', in Daniel Statman (ed.) Virtue Ethics: a Critical Reader, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, p.236.
Saturday, 19 May 2018
Acts 2: 1-11
Ande quhen the dais of Penthecoste war fillit, all the discipilis war togiddir in the sammin place. And suddanlie thar was made a sound fra heuen, as of a gret wynd cummand, and it fillit al the hous quhare thai sat. And diuerse tonngis as fire apperit to thame, and it sat on ilk of thame. And all war fillit with the Haligaast, and thai began to spek diuerse langages, as the Haligaast gaue to thame for to spek.
And thare war in Jerusalem duelland Iewis, religiouse men, of ilk natioun that is vndir heuen. And quhen this voce was made, the multitude com togiddir, and thai war astonait in thoucht, for ilk man herde thame spekand in his langage. And all war astonayit, and wonndrit, and said togiddir, "Quhethir nocht al thir that spekis ar men of Galilee, And how herde we ilkman his langage in quhilk we war born? Parthi, and Medi, and Elamite, and thai that duellis at Mesopotamie, Judee, and Capaddocie, and Ponthe, and Asie, Phrigie, and Pamphilie, Egipt, and the partijs of Libie, that is about Syrenen, and cumlingis Romanis, and Iewis, and proselitis, Men of Crete, and of Arabie, and we haue herd thame speke in our langages the gret thingis of God."
[From The New Testament in Scots Murdoch Nisbet [c.1520] (1905) vol 3 here]
103: 1, 24, 29-31, 34
Bliss the Lord, O my saul.
O Lord my God, thou art verra grit;
Lord, howe moniefald ar thy warks!
the yirth is fu' o' thy riches.
Thou takist awa thair breæth, thaye dee,
an' return til thair dust.
Thou sen'ist furth thy speerit ; thaye ar creaatet,
an' thou makist new agayne the fece o' the yirth.
The glorie o' the Lord sail induur forevir;
the Lord sail rejoyce in his warks.
My meditatione o' him sail be sweet;
I wull be gladsume in the Lord.
[From Psalm 104, The Book of Psalms in Lowland Scots Henry Scott Riddell (1857) here]
1 Corinthians 12: 3b-7, 12-13
[N]o man may say, "the Lord Jesu", bot in the Haligaast.
And diuerse graces thar ar. Bot it is all aa spirit; and dyuerse seruices thar ar, bot it is all aa Lord; and diuerse wirkingis thar ar, bot it is all aa God, that wirkis althingis in althingis. And to ilkman the schewing of spirit is geven to proffite.
For as thar is aa body, and has mony membris, and al the membris of the body quhen tha ar mony, ar aa body, sa alsa Christ. For in aa spirit al we ar baptizit into aa body, outhir Iewis, othir hethen men, outhir seruandis, outhir fre; and al we ar fillit with drink in aa spirit.
[From The New Testament in Scots Murdoch Nisbet [c.1520] (1903) vol 2 here]
John 20: 19-23
Tharfore quhen it was euen in that day, aan of the sabotis, and the yettis war closit quhare the discipilis war gaderit for drede of the Iewis, Jesus com and stude in the myddis of the discipilis, and he sais to thame, "Pece to yow." And quhen he had said this, he schewit to thame handis and side; tharfore the discipilis ioyit, for the Lord was seen. And he sais to thame agane, "Pece to you.
"As the fader send me,
I send you."
Quhen he had said this, he blew on thame, and said,
"Tak ye the Haligast;
Quhais synnis ye forgefe,
tha ar forgeuen to thame;
and quhais ye withhald,
tha ar withhaldin."
[From The New Testament in Scots Murdoch Nisbet [c.1520] (1903) vol 2 here]