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John Root Hopkins | Abortion | Opinions of An Opinionated Bastard | 1995

Updated: Aug 19, 2022

Opinions of An Opinionated Bastard is a collection of gonzo-style non-fiction pieces by Cambridge, MD native John Root Hopkins. Here, the artist, writer and critic offers his take on a range of topics from Abortion and Constitutional Rights to Police and Cigarettes. Published in 1995 this collection captures a specific time and generation that reveals much about our own.



I had a dinner guest recently who is an old friend and a fundamentalist in his religious beliefs. He asked me how I could possibly be Pro-Choice and call myself a Christian.

Putting on my "lawyer hat" , I asked why he was against abortion.

He said, "Because it is murder, the Bible says so, it violates God's Commandment." I slipped out to my study and grabbed my King James Bible Concordance and asked, where soes it says that? He sputtered and said, Exodus, Chapter XX, Commandment VI."

I scanned to Chapter VI and read it, "'Thou shalt not kill.' Where does it say anything about murder?"

"Well, that is what it means, killing is murder."

"Baloney," I answered. "Murder is killing but killing may or may not be murder. Murder is a secular crime defined very precisely by law, man's law. Remember the 'Render unto Caesar' admonition'."

I went on, "Murder has been defined over thousands of years by civilizations including dozens that were not Christian or Jewish. Making murder a serious offense provides stability to society. Killing is regrettably accepted by all societies throughout history.

If you really believe in honoring the literal meaning of 'Thou shall not kill' then you had better be a conscientious objector and refuse to defend our country by killing enemies and oppose having nuclear weapons.

You must not shoot robbers and rapists who attack you or your loved ones..."

He signaled "enough." I couldn't stop.

"Murder as a crime is a man's law, not God's eyes and you know it."

He stammered "abortion is an abomination in God's eyes and you know it."

I punched in the word, "abortion" and the Concordance display responded that the word does not appear in the Bible. I showed it to him and he said nothing, sensing that the conversation was spoiling our meal.

"Look," I said, "you simply have to get it straight, God's law is just that, it is His law to construe, not man's. God says, "Thou shall not..." and if we violate that admonition then we may expect His retribution. God does not say, "Make My law man's law, enforce My law for me." When we get this point confused we lose all ability to think straight and fall right into the hands of religious, political demagogues who have seized this emotional issue to get money and power.

I say let God take care of those He deems have violated His law. Let man deal with man's law. One is secular, one is spiritual."

He squirmed and I continued, "If we were to punish by secular laws people who violate God's laws we would punish you and the rest of America pretty regularly along with most of the people in the world."