Liberal Seventh-day Adventist Johnny Ramirez, writing at the Spectrum Blog (associated with the liberal Association of Adventist Forums), is shocked at the “divergent views on the abortion debate” being advanced by “Amazing Facts,” a long established Adventist apologetics organization. They are speaking in “opposition to well respected Adventist perspectives,” he says. Now I find it incredibly ironic that Spectrum, of all publications, would have a problem with novelty. That publication thrives on the novel, and lives to tweak the nose of the Adventist church. It represents the voice of the wannabee Episcopalians in Adventism.
What’s the problem here? “The Bible teaches pro-life, they say, and abortion is a serious sin.” This is the scandalous views, Ramirez says, Amazing Facts is presenting. He quotes a statement from 1992 to support his liberal view, as well as an article by Loma Linda ethicist James Walters (who egregiously misrepresents the philosophical perspective of personalism and distorts Cardinal Joseph Bernardin) .
Walters’ position is horrifying. He says,
To these philosophies, the life being considered is either black or white; it is either without moral status or it has full moral status. But given our modern knowledge, human life is much more like a rheostat: it begins with a flicker, swells to fullness, then dims to nothing in death. The proximate personhood is rheostat-like. It is a common-sense position. It takes its intellectual content from personhood thinking, but listens to the intuitions of physicalism.
Proximate personhood suggests that the greater the proximity or nearness of the individual to that of undisputed personhood—such as you or I have—the greater the individual’s moral status.
It’s a rheostat? To be turned up and down? So “the individual’s moral status” can be turned down as they get older. Or infirm. Or a burden. I shudder to read this.
Adventist hospitals have always been iffy propositions. Adventists established them out of respect for human life. But then the most prominent Adventist physician, John Harvey Kellogg, started teaching pantheistic philosophy, and wrested Battle Creek Sanitarium from denominational control; some in leading positions in the Adventist college in Battle Creak supported him. Today, Adventist hospitals are performing abortions and experiments on infants (remember Baby Fae, who got the baboon heart?), and ethicists and theologians at the more liberal Adventist universities are justifying these policies. I can’t imagine Ellen White approving.