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A controversy is brewing over the Lacy Peterson murder case in California. Lacy's badly decomposed body, and that of her infant son, washed ashore near Richmond, CA last week after disappearing several months ago. Her husband, Scott Peterson, has since been charged with double murder. Controversy has now arisen over whether the double murder charge is appropriate since the son was actually unborn at the time Lacy was murdered (she was eight months pregnant). Pro-life advocates say yes, insisting that the unborn baby was indeed a human being/person. But abortion supporters insist that an unborn child does not achieve personhood under the law until actually born, and therefore is not protected by law or the Constitution's right to life clause. Up until then it is a "fetus" that can legally be killed if the mother chooses." Marva Stark, head of the Morris County, N. J. chapter of NOW (National Organization of Women), publicly objected to the double murder charge filed in this case: "Was it born, or was it unborn? If it was unborn, then I can't see charging (Peterson) with a double murder," she told the Daily Record there. To proabortionists, agreeing that Scott Peterson can be charged with double murder is to agree that Lacy's unborn child was a person and was murdered when she was. But to agree to that is to undermine the idea that the unborn "fetus" is not a person and therefore can be killed without it being murder. Columnist Cal Thomas brought the matter into sharp focus when he wrote, "If Scott Peterson is convicted of double murder and sentenced to die, that will mean that a California court will have determined that the second victim in this case was, in fact, a person before the law" (The Tennessean. Wednesday April 23. 2003, p 15A).

Opinions about abortion and other moral issues are all over the map. As the controversies swirl, whose opinion matters most? George Will writes in Men At Work: "Baseball umpires are carved from granite and stuffed with microchips. . .. they are professional dispensers of pure justice. Once when Babe Pinelli called Babe Ruth out on strikes. Ruth made a populist argument. Ruth reasoned fallaciously (as populists do) from raw numbers to moral weight: 'There's 40,000 people here who know that last one was a ball, tomato head.' Pinelli replied with the measured stateliness of John Marshall: 'Maybe so, but mine is the only opinion that counts.' " Long ago the patriarch Abraham asked, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right" (Genesis 18:25)? God is the Judge of all the earth. In the moral, spiritual issues of life, He is the Ultimate Umpire. In the end, His opinion will be the only one that counts.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ