Sunday, July 31, 2005

Understanding Frist: Incoherence and the fact/value split

The pro-life community continues to be appalled over once-respected Sen. Bill Frist's new attempt to be both pro-life and pro-death at the same time. Incoherent? Utterly. How do we explain this kind of foolishness? (Not that it's uncommon, but from Frist?)

The Dawn Treader writes that Frist's ESCR speech is demonstrative of the "fact/value split" taught by the great Francis Schaeffer and again by Nancy Pearcey in her excellent new book Total Truth (which I'm in the process of reading).

What it comes down to is that many Christians, while in some sense believing their faith claims to be true (which is why they can be called "Christians"), fail to behave as such because of intellectual confusion. They've been deluded into somehow viewing the truth claims of Christianity as matters of preference rather than of objective fact.

So while Sen. Frist believes that the unjustified killing of innocent human beings is wrong, he doesn't act like it because he's bought into a false dichotomy that's artificially preventing the Christian worldview from applying to certain issues. Frist may say that embryos are intrinsically valuable, but he doesn't mean it in any real sense. Which is how he can support genocide.

Also, at STR, Melinda Penner writes about Frist's superficial justification: that only "unwanted" embryos will be killed. The same justification that Frist hasn't accepted on the abortion issue.

As "wanted-ness" has no bearing on the transcendent moral status of a human being, this is just a mask to give the appearance of a legitimate justification for the practice. Ultimately, it's about Frist buying into the fact/value split and betraying his own stated moral convictions.

Bill Frist says human embryos must be treated with the "utmost dignity and respect." But he doesn't actually mean it.

More: Earlier Frist ESCR post

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