Saturday, April 15, 2017

Is Ben Shapiro an Extreme, Judgmental Hypocrite?

I'll be perfectly honest. Until yesterday I didn't even know who Ben Shapiro was. Of course, I also don't watch television, listen to the radio very much, and I am married with 5 children. So, I don't know who a lot of people are. And in reality, I still don't know much about him, except for the tidbits that people have shown me in the past couple days. Here's what I DO know. Based on the little that was given to me, he has not said anything extreme, judgmental, or hypocritical enough for people to call him such.

I moderate a couple FB pages, and one of the administrators of one of those pages posted a 4-minute video of Mr. Shapiro defending a baby's right to life.
LINK to original VIDEO source

No sooner that it was posted did people start rebuking his message. And it wasn't just pro-abortion folks doing so. It was pro-life Catholics. So, I decided I had better watch the video and find out what he said that had them in an uproar. After watching, I went to one of the more vocal members to find out what she found so problematic, because I just wasn't seeing it.

Dave: "I think it's rather premature and rash to say that the guy is a hypocrite if we are just basing the judgment on this video. Everything he said was in the context of live oral debate, spoken "off the cuff". This was not a rehearsed video; not a written defense of the pro-life message. It was open debate. So, did he say anything hypocritical or contrary to the faith? I found 2 points worthy of addressing:

1) While agreeing that the perpetrator of rape should be punished for the crime, instead of punishing the unborn child, he included the verbiage, "[the rapist] should be...killed...". Obviously that statement, taken apart from the context of debate, is not in conformity with the Catholic faith, and isn't, per se, "pro life". As Catholics, we believe in due process and in reserving the death penalty for the most extreme circumstances which are rather a rarity today. Seems like this guy should understand that, right? So, as a "practicing Catholic who knows about the faith", *I* (and those crying out "hypocrite") would follow that part of the faith noted in paragraph 2477-2478 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, regarding rash judgment, and not immediately assume he meant that literally, that it was stated "off the cuff", and ask him to clarify/explain his actual position. It may well be that he really believes what he said and is speaking out of both sides of his mouth. But given the situation (open and "off-the-cuff" debate), I doubt that.

2) While empathizing with raped women who are in dire straights, and simultaneously emphasizing that killing a baby does not make bad situations become good, he said something vague about a woman having a right to choose in such-n-such a circumstance. It was unclear what he meant by that, in the smaller context of that brief statement. However, in the larger context of defending an unborn person's right to life, I don't see how it could be construed that he meant it is sometimes okay to purposefully kill a baby, and instead I would think that he meant that it is okay to treat a disease, even in a rare case that the treatment could cause the baby's death. This is in conformity with the Catholic faith.

Was there anything I missed?"

Kate B.C. - " I have followed and shared "Share Catholic" for quite awhile and really enjoy it. However, the post that was shared by Share Catholic made me sad because it shared an extremist's point of view on abortion. What we're really missing here is the fact that Mr. Shapiro can pass judgment and that is what caused me to even reply in the first place. I was taught that it was God's place to make that judgment. In the end, pro life is pro life and if we truly believe this, we wouldn't make "off the cuff" remarks/judgment that a person should be killed for the act he/she committed upon another person."

Dave: "Kate B.C., I'm not sure what makes him an extremist in the video. Is it that he said there is never a time when we can purposefully intend to kill an unborn child? That's not "extreme", it's solid Catholic doctrine. I'm not aware of anything else he said that was strongly stated one side or the other. And he DID allow for treatment of an ill mother [with cancer] where treatments might cause the unintended death of the baby. Again, not extreme, and in-line with Catholic doctrine.
Neither did I see him pass judgment on anyone. The scenario given by the lady debating him was not real. It was a pretend scenario involving a rapist. It isn't judging to acknowledge what someone has done and hold them accountable. So, where are you seeing him pass judgment?

Furthermore, who are you to judge what a true pro-lifer will or won't say? You can't call someone judgmental while simultaneously judging their degree of "pro-life" based upon your own personal standards without becoming a hypocrite yourself, can you?"

Jake C. - "Ben Shapiro supports the death penalty."
LINK to ARTICLE

Dave: "Jake C., why does that matter and how does it support what Kate B.C. said? The Church supports the death penalty in the same rare circumstances as Mr. Shapiro, and that's hardly an extreme position given its rarity.
And putting a dangerous criminal to death is NOT the same as killing an innocent child who has done nothing wrong, so his position is not hypocritical. And it's not judgmental to hold someone accountable for what they have done, so it's not judgmental. Did I miss something?"

Apparently, at that point, the group Administrator became uncomfortable with the debate, because all commenting was removed and the ability to make subsequent comments was turned off. I can't say I blame her in one regard, because that particular page was never intended for debate, or even discussion. It's mainly just for sharing pictures and memes with the message of Christ. The posts were eventually restored and conversation commenced again, but there was never an answer to my questions, and there was never anything provided by those who were calling Mr. Shapiro a hypocrite that actually showed him to be one. The fact is, a man defended the right to life of babies in their mothers' wombs. He was called a hypocrite for an off-the-cuff remark about killing a criminal while defending the right to life of an innocent baby under the Pro-Life banner. He was called judgmental for recognizing personal accountability for our actions. And he was called extreme for...I don't actually know why...his position as actually stated was in conformity with Christian moral theology. Ben Shapiro doesn't appear to be any of the things he was accused of. He appears to be Catholic. And in our current age of moral depravity, that's probably the worst crime he can commit.

EDIT: One of my beloved readers pointed out to me that Ben Shapiro is actual Orthodox Jew, not Christian. What a great irony! That makes the argument against him, by the Catholics who were arguing, even more ridiculous. "Shame on that Orthodox Jew for sounding Christian while saying something Catholic that I disagree with!"

4 comments:

  1. I also want to point out that "hypocrite" is not a judgement...it's a statement of fact. For example, Joe says "I think pasta is healthy...but I think carbs are unhealthy"...Joe has made a hypocritical statement and is therefore a hypocrite (so long as he supports this statement). As a theologian I would ask the admin to really think about what they're posting on this page.
    The ShareCatholic admin team said his off the cuff comments don't mean he's pro-death penalty. But he is. He has shown time and again that he does not follow the Church's teachings on that matter. No one's perfect, but his pro-life creds are questionable at best.

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    1. Anonymous, you can't say he's a hypocrite by comparing his statement about apples [he thinks it's okay to kill dangerous criminals in rare cases] to his statement about seeds [it's not okay to kill innocent babies who have never committed a crime]. I would think that a theologian would not need to have that explained to them.
      No, he's not a hypocrite for wanting to fight for the right to life of innocent babies while supporting the death penalty for the most dangerous of criminals.
      For the sake of argument, let's pretend he supports the death penalty for LOTS of circumstances, (instead of the rarest occasions which would still be considered a pro-life position).
      Well, that may make him "not pro-life". But it still doesn't make him a hypocrite, or judgmental, or extreme. It just makes him bad at being pro-life for people who have already had a chance to be born.
      Kate B.C., and several others, said he was a hypocrite. She took it a step further and said he was an extremist and was being judgmental. How so? If supporting the death of a dangerous criminal is not the same as supporting the death of an innocent baby (and it's not), and it's not judgmental to hold someone accountable for what they do (and it's not), and it's not extreme for an Orthodox Jew to support the death penalty for dangerous criminals while simultaneously wanting to protect the unborn babies (and it's not), how is Ben Shapiro these things?

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    2. Eric A. B., a self-proclaimed Catholic theologian writes: "He says he's pro-life. He's clearly pro-birth. There's a difference. And as a theologian I noticed he said, at the very beginning, he is "pro-life". Also, as a theologian, and Catholic, I beleive this baby is born with original sin...and is a sinner already by nature. Both are sinful. Willingly or not. The good news of Jesus Christ is that all sinners can be forgiven. If Mr. Shapiro doesn't understand this type of compassion in his heart and with faith (if he did wouldn't so easily condemn people...even "off the cuff"), Mr. Shapiro would know better than to make such an ignorant statement. And Share Catholic admins should know better and discern these things.
      I would also like to ask if, before his condemnation, did he think to ask of the woman's perspective? Does that thought cross his mind? Is Share Catholic, with these posts, trying to bend the Church to take one extreme over another? Trading one sin for another; is that the value of a life?"

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  2. Eric, you said, "Also, as a theologian, and Catholic, I believe this baby is born with original sin...and is a sinner already by nature. Both [the rapist and the baby] are sinful. Willingly or not."
    Yes, both mother and child and rapist were conceived with original sin. The difference between the rapist and the unborn baby is in the sin of commission. The rapist committed a personal sin. The unborn baby did not. There is a stark difference. You are still comparing apples to seeds.
    What extremes are you talking about in regards to the woman's perspective? If you watched the video, he did discuss this. His final thought was that a wrong action (killing a child who did nothing wrong) doesn't make another wrong action (rape) into a right one. So, what is the "extreme" here? And what sin of the baby are you talking about trading off here, for the sin of rape? Do you honestly believe that original sin is the responsibility of the baby?
    In all charity, and out of respect to honest dialog, I have to ask, where did you get your theology degree? Because it does not appear that you understand even the basics here.

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