The educator said he teaches that abortion is reasonable.
By D.A. WILKINSON
VINDICATOR RELIGION EDITOR
YOUNGSTOWN -- Dr. Daniel C. Maguire has a new take on the old battle between religion and contraception and abortion.
Opponents of reproduction rights have one reading of spiritual texts on that subject, while others have another.
So, he says, lets quit fighting since there are rich traditions for each side.
Maguire is the author of "Sacred Choices: The Right to Contraception and Abortion in Ten World Religions." He's a professor of moral theological ethics at Marquette University in Milwaukee.
Christians, Jews, Muslims and people of other faiths have contraception and abortion rights positions, he argues in the book he discussed at a Friday luncheon at the Jewish Community Center.
The luncheon, sponsored by Planned Parenthood of Mahoning Valley Inc., was picketed by a handful of anti-abortion protesters.
Reasonable: And Maguire made his position clear: "I teach abortion is reasonable."
Humans are the only species that can control their fertility, the educator said, adding that all religions have become involved in the debate over reproductive rights.
The educator cautioned against religions that are cults, since, "What a cult does is take your mind away."
Maguire said religions "are the sources of wisdom, sources of mischief and sources of nonsense, and you have to sort it out."
He compared reproductive issues to the concept of lending money for interest, which had been banned in some faiths. Church members pressed for the right to lend money to be repaid with interest, and the churches eventually followed, the educator said.
Exceptions: Likewise, fighting a war is an exception to the Christian commandment not to kill.
"It is the nature of moral principles to have exceptions," Maguire said.
St. Antonius was canonized by the Catholic Church in the 15th century. He wrote on allowing abortion, as did other Catholics in the past.
"I'd make him the patron saint of choice," Maguire said. "I have students who will say to me when they hear more of this openness in the Catholic tradition, 'You know, I could remain a Catholic.' The church is not like a straitjacket that the [Catholic] hierarchy makes it look."
As a practical matter, many people make their choices on reproductive issues without listening to their faith leaders, he acknowledged.
Italy's birth rate is below the level needed to replace its current population, he said, adding, "That's not due to chastity."
He said denominations are beginning to divide informally, such as the Jewish faith did formally along a conservative to liberal spectrum.
A person may go to one church in a denomination where contraceptive rights are accepted, while those beliefs at another denomination might get a person thrown out, he said.