USA Today published an article on July 24, 2019, by Lindsay Schnell titled, “Many Jewish people support progressive abortion laws because of the Bible.” Well the title is misleading to begin with; not all Jewish people, or even most Jewish people believe abortion on demand is scriptural.
It turns out in the article that the “many Jewish people” Schnell is referring to were a handful of Jewish women with some very liberal views on abortion.
In my line of work (I am a chaplain) my duties bring me in contact with representatives of the various world religions and I have yet to meet a Jew who openly supports abortion on demand. Of course, my perspective is limited.
Schnell quotes Rabbi Dayna Ruttenberg who is outraged that Evangelical Christians use “my sacred text to justify taking away my rights in a way that is just so calculated and craven.”
Here’s a news flash Dayna, the “sacred text” is not your private possession subject to your personal interpretation, so I am interested in the specific citation in the “sacred text” that supports your “right” to abortion.
Ruttenberg takes exception when those like speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, Kirk Cox, quote the sacred text as justification to restrict the practice of abortion. Cox quoted Psalm 139:13 which reads, “For you formed my inward parts; you wove me in my mother’s womb.”
Ruttenberg thinks laws should not be derived from “poetic language.” I suppose she believes the poetic style employed by the psalmist negates the substance of the sacred text, but I believe that Father God is intimately and mysteriously at work in the miracle process that produces nascent human life. It may be that Evangelical Christians consider the text to be more sacred than this female rabbi.
She also argues that Jewish tradition holds to a different reading and understanding of the contested passages embraced by Evangelical Christians. That may be, I am not an expert on Jewish tradition. But I will say this; any religious tradition or interpretation of Scripture, Jewish or otherwise, that contradicts the plain meaning of Scripture and supplants the sacred text with secular political agendas is damnable.
The article also quoted the president of the National Council of Jewish Women, Sheila Katz, who said, “It makes her angry when men try to govern women’s bodies.” I am more outraged that women, and men for that matter, do not govern their bodies any better than to conceive babies outside of marriage and think the only way to dodge the responsibility of parenthood is to kill the baby; half of which, statistically speaking, are baby girls.
Pregnancies for some are viewed as a curse rather than a blessing. Consider what the Scriptures proclaim, “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward,” Psalm 127:3.
I know that is poetry, but how is that for a sacred text?