Jacobse. Philadelphia: The Cost of Equivocation

Why such outrage over the Philadelphia abortionist? What moral difference is there between severing the spinal cord of a newborn with a pair of scissors and dismembering a baby with a scalpel a few moments before its birth? There isn’t any.

Yet the outcry over the brutality indicates that the fiction of viability may be lifting, and not a moment too soon. Viability, the idea that an unborn child has value only when it can live outside the womb, is a concept that the ignorant still believe has scientific credibility. It’s a rhetorical pretense that helps us avoid what we don’t want to see.

The cold hand of the malefactor reveals that the brutality outside the womb occurs inside it too. It’s not so easy to pretend anymore that a difference exists because we see one but not the other. Josef Mengele at least maintained the pretense that he was serving science. This butcher wouldn’t even do that. His staff kept their lunches in the same refrigerator where they stored left-over fetal parts.

Should we be shocked that the abortionist treated the newly born like a piece of pork? Why? How is it any different than how he treats the unborn?

Anyone who equivocates on the value of human life contributes to the horrors we saw in Philadelphia. That’s why the Fathers of the Church used harsh and blunt language against abortion. Defending one innocent life defends all life. Justifying the murder of one, justifies the murder of all.

There is a pastoral requirment to the abortion crisis in America. Many people are confused and make the wrong decisions. The woman who had an abortion often recognizes the consequences of her decision after it is too late. Anyone dealing with a person involved with abortion must exercise exceptional sensitivity and understanding so that the forgiveness and healing of Christ can be experienced. The Fathers teach us this too, mostly by their example.

But this requirement must not be used to blunt the clear teaching that abortion is a grave moral offense; a very serious danger to both mother and child, and to the moral health of the larger culture. Let no Orthodox leader abuse his pastoral responsibility by drowning the gravity of the offense in a rhetorical sea of exaggerated compassion. That man fears the disapproval of his peers. The Fathers were men of courage.

For this reason any equivocation by Orthodox leaders must be met with the strongest objection. The moral tradition is clear. In the defense of life, one who stands on the side of the tradition stands on the side of the Fathers; one who stands on the side of the Fathers stands on the side of Christ.

Do you wonder how people become animals? It starts by treating the weaker people that way. Do not accept equivocation. The cost is too high.


  1. Speaking of equivocation, here’s a perfect example from Bishop Savas Zembillas. On a note titled “Roe vs. Wade” on his facebook wall that his facebook friend has posted, he replied with “Amen” to this comment:

    While noting (and lamenting) the passing of Roe vs Wade and the millions of unborn children who have died, I gently admonish my brothers and sisters in the pro-life camp to also consider those childrens’ older siblings who, while given the chance to live, have grown up with crushing poverty, limited health care, and broken homes. May we extend the same concern to these little ones and fight for their rights as much as we have those abused in the womb.

    Bishop Savas does this a day before the Sanctity of Life Sunday!

    This is exactly the same equivocation that Bishop Savas proclaims regarding his views on abortion (it’s one of his favorite quotes in his profile):

    Given the demographics of abortion—which shows a terrible over-representation of young, single, urban, low-income African-American women—I do not understand how a pro-life agenda can be divorced from a social justice agenda. It is impossible for a Christian to acquiesce in policies that allow doctors to suck the life out of a fetus—yet it is deplorably common for Christians to eagerly encourage “conservative” policies that perpetuate poverty, substandard education, and inadequate healthcare for these littlest ones, once they have left the womb.

    Compare his public stance on abortion with Metropolitan Jonah’s clear, direct, and truly Orthodox public witness:

    The world validates abortion, the sacrifice of the life of an innocent child for the convenience of the mother, oblivious to the suffering it will cause that very woman. It depersonalizes the child, as a “fetus;” while at the same time developing technologies to save nearly identical fetuses in troubled pregnancies. The criterion is not the life of the child; the criterion is simply the desire of the parent: whether the parent wants the child or not. If so, no expense is spared. If not, it is a useless bother, a mass of flesh to be excised like a tumor. What is left, however, is a lifetime of regret, guilt, self-hatred and self-loathing. This is not just an act, but a state of sin.

  2. Geo Michalopulos :

    Chris, Bishop Savas is like most liberals. He believes that by pointing out a lesser evil (poverty) he will get a moral pass by not addressing the greater evil (abortion, which is the taking of an innocent human life). This is no different than refusing to condemn Bernie Madoff because chicken thievery is rampant.

  3. Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

    Moral equivalency works both ways. too. From the pro-abort side, Bp. Savas can be read to support abortion as an anti-poverty program. More on this later.

    Did you read where Obama came out with full throated support for Roe v. Wade?

    “Government should not intrude on private family matters,” he said. Meanwhile, Obamacare turns every private decision over to government!

    Liberals, it seems, want to regulate everything except abortion.

    • Fr. Hans: I do not believe it is so much about abortion per se because the same liberals promote directly or indirectly the concept of euthanasia. On the latter, the right to control one’s body seems to be irrelevant to them. Also, consider how they want to control what we eat, etc. The liberals know that one of the core beliefs of Chritianity is sanctity of life and an antithesis with regard to abortion. This is really an attack on Christianity itself. Abortion is only the expedient vehicle of that attack.

  4. Why aren’t the Orthodox Christian Hierarchs in the United States declaring a National Day of Prayer and Fasting on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade? Or, for that matter why aren’t all so-called “Christian” churches nationwide declaring this? I understand the annual Pro-Life March in Washington, D.C. is a nice public gesture (I’ve attended and froze at quite a few), but all U.S. Christian pastors need to be standing united on the desks of those on Capitol Hill demanding an end to this 38-year holocaust! Why doesn’t the Greek Orthodox Observer newspaper make this holocaust paramount on its front page yearly?! Or are we on this earth to make nice safe speeches, grow long beards, and have ornate processions?!

  5. Geo Michalopulos :

    Alexis, you raise several important questions. I wish I could give you a good answer, one that would stand the test of logic and Scripture. Unfortunately, I can’t.

    • alexis banias :

      Great to hear from you, Brother George! I wish you peace, good health, and many blessings this New Year! Great work with the Tulsa Pro-Life March!


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