Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Coming out of the closet: Abortion

I have so tried to avoid the stigma that comes from being “pro-life.” For too long activists have burned the eyes of our culture with photos of unborn fetus’s and have bled eardrums with murder cries and accusations of evil. Like other issues that closed-minded Christians involve themselves in, it has become difficult at best to speak lovingly against abortion. In fact, because of the closed-mindedness of others I admit that I have been afraid to speak my mind on the subject for fear of being labeled and associated with that brand of Christianity that, at its most extreme, has resorted to bombing abortion clinics. Well, I am coming out of the closet (that pun would have worked for the gay rights topic better). It is my belief that there is something terribly wrong with abortion. But, just because I believe this doesn’t mean I am ready to cry murder or even start a conversation about “fire and brimstone.”

Abortion isn’t just about the child or the fetus (call him/her whatever you will) it’s also about mothers, it’s about fathers, it’s about families. There is a connection between a woman and her child even before she gives birth and when that connection is broken there is damage at the deepest spiritual levels and that damage spills over into other relationships. There is no such thing as a personal or isolated relationship. I am aware that for many, this point has been argued before and over-argued. What about the woman’s rights? Should the government decide what a woman does with her body? What about in rape cases? Because of questions like these I admit that the argument is much more complicated for most “pro-life” advocates to approach.

How can the church speak out on a subject that’s got such a stigma attached to it? How can the church talk about it in such a way that is sensitive to women yet recognizes the spiritual a psychological issues, not least the life inside the woman? IF we really want to begin this conversation with our culture we have to be ready for hard work. We have to start by reconciling and cleaning up the mess that’s been made by the Christian “right.”

I think that there are many like me. There are many of us who really care. We’re not just pushing a political agenda or trying to tell others what to do—expecting people to live by our moral standards. We actually do care about women’s rights, and our conviction flows from compassion rather than from a moral-superiority complex. My plea is that more of us will enter the conversation wherever we are subversively, quietly even, starting with the people around us. The so-called "Christian right" needs help putting down their swords by which they’ve lived for too long and the Christians who are afraid of the stigma need to come out of the closet and reclaim the conversation in the name of reconciliation, renewal, and restoration.

I’ve been referred to a website that I think helps in starting such a conversation: FFL (http://www.feministsforlife.org/)

2 comments:

DM said...

Just one side note which may increase our awareness to view this issue more sensitively: Statistics show that one in four women in any given church have had an abortion. The ugly language does no good to heal these women in our very families. We must be gentle and loving to overcome this issue and the damage that has been done in every direction. I loved your words about a connection being broken at "the deepest spiritual levels". How insightful!

Art Thompson said...

Wes

I can see that you have some real pain over this subject but I believe that it is misplaced. From your wording I can see that you have bought into the Liberal Progressive chain of thought so anything I say here will be suspect in your mind. But I will not put down my sword.

First of all let me say that using terms like “For too long activists have burned the eyes of our culture with photos of unborn fetus’s and have bled eardrums with murder cries and accusations of evil”, “closed-minded Christians” and “brand of Christianity that, at its most extreme, has resorted to bombing abortion clinics.” Does not advance your argument in other than the most Liberal Progressive arena.

You wrote:
“Abortion isn’t just about the child or the fetus (call him/her whatever you will) it’s also about mothers, it’s about fathers, it’s about families. There is a connection between a woman and her child even before she gives birth and when that connection is broken there is damage at the deepest spiritual levels and that damage spills over into other relationships.”

That is very insightful. Abortion impacts all of those things and is a mighty statement in support of anti-abortion. Many studies I have seen go on at length on the adverse psychological impact an abortion has on the woman, her husband if married, her family et al. Sadly it does not manifest itself until after the deed is done and sadly, in some cases never.

Next you wrote:
“What about the woman’s rights? Should the government decide what a woman does with her body? What about in rape cases?”

Well it is not only about what the woman does with her body, there is another life involved or potential life if you don’t believe that conception is an act of creation. And besides, the government tells us all the time what we can’t do with our bodies. You can’t be a prostitute (except in some jurisdictions in Nevada). You can’t drive your car 100 mph down the freeway; you can’t drive your car without a seatbelt. You can’t smoke in government buildings, hospitals, most restaurants or at work. If you try to commit suicide too many times without succeeding they will lock you away “for your own protection.” You can’t eat saturated fats in public; restaurants are legally restrained from serving them even if you want them. The list is endless, and growing.

How can government be involved in all of these areas but not in one where their responsibility is greatest, protection of life?

As for rape, incest and mothers physical health those areas can be accommodated under law. It is abortion on demand for no just reason that upsets the Pro-Life folks like me. Did you know that rape and incest combined account for only 1% of all abortions and mother’s health accounts for 3%; a total of only 4% fall into those categories? Another interesting fact is that the much touted “woman’s right to privacy” can only be implied from 1% of the women having abortions. (http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/abreasons.html)

And then you wrote:
“There are many of us who really care. We’re not just pushing a political agenda or trying to tell others what to do—expecting people to live by our moral standards. We actually do care about women’s rights, and our conviction flows from compassion rather than from a moral-superiority complex.”

What makes you believe that the Religious Right is “just” pushing a political agenda? I’m not trying to tell other what to do; I am trying to tell others that what is being done is wrong. Not from moral superiority but because unjust killing is a moral absolute; the problem is that in this Postmodern Era absolute truth does not exist. I cannot in my wildest nightmare consider Jesus approving of abortion on demand.

And how you can speak about compassion in this context is just beyond my comprehension. The woman had a choice; to have sex or not knowing that even protected sex (condoms, birth control, etc) are not 100% reliable. She knew the risk and took a chance the unborn within her has no such choice before it is torn apart by the abortionists vacuum. Legalized abortion on demand allowed her to make that choice with ease knowing that even if she became pregnant she would be able to terminate it with ease and accepting no responsibility.

The Social Gospel/Progressive Christians/Red-letter Christians/emergent’s are not a group you want to be affiliated with. Like the Christian Right, the Progressive Left has its extremists’. Be careful in your quest. There is an old saying that if you lay down with dogs you will get up with fleas.

I wish you well brother.