Catholic Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho’s excommunication of the mother of a 9-year-old girl who had an abortion after being raped by her step-father has infuriated many people in Brazil and elsewhere. This is a case when being right in principle results in being wrong in fact.
Abortion is much more serious than killing an adult. An adult may or may not be an innocent, but an unborn child is most definitely innocent. Taking that life cannot be ignored.
The Catholic Church may not want her or her mother in their membership, but there are plenty of other Christian denominations that would be far less judgmental.
I dare say that the little girl was innocent as well. The Archbishop should know that two wrongs do not make a right. Forcing the girl to carry to term would have been a hideous crime in its own right. This was a no-win situation, in other words, that Sobrinho would have done well to have looked away from.
Courts in this country would be wise to do the same in regard to acts of conscience by people whose professions can put them in situations in which they would have to violate their own personal, religious, or ethical beliefs in order to render service.
The Obama administration has already announced that it will restrict the rights of health care workers to be governed by their consciences by overturning the Bush administration’s “Conscience Rule” that protected health workers who refuse to take part in abortions or provide other procedures or medicine that goes against their personal beliefs.
Now Catholic florists in Connecticut are worried that the state’s new law allowing gay marriage will force them to provide services for homosexual couples in violation of their personal religious beliefs.
Yes, the Bush Conscience Rule may have been too broad and Connecticut florists might be overly paranoid about future customers’ sexual foibles. But the bottom line is that the right of people to make their own decisions about what is right and what is wrong is at the heart of what it means to be free. The government has no business forcing people to undertake actions that they find objectionable. Rather, the state should simply stay out of matters of conscience and stop attempting to bully everyone into toeing the politically correct line.
I’m sure that gay-friendly florists support that principle for reasons of their own, one of which is their economic prosperity. Virtue is its own reward, after all.