Don’t Ask (ccr)

Originally published Feb. 6, 2010   Reviewed today after minor editing.

This is not a blog about the rights of gay men and women to offer their lives as protection of their country.  This is not a blog addressing the abilities of gay men and women to perform the duties connected with military service.  This is not a blog about the controversy surrounding gay men and women, their patriotism, their willingness to serve, or the prospect of their death protecting our lives.  Before I move to a different and equally  illogical “Don’t Ask”, I will thank the men and women of the Armed Services, no matter the sexual orientation from their birth.

Thank you, Gentle Women and Gentlemen, for whatever part of your being  delivers the courage to protect this country through military service.

Now, on with my ramble.

Recently, a rather devout person said, “God killed Dr. Tiller.” (Dr. Tiller ran a clinic where abortions were performed.  He died after being shot by an anti-abortion person.)

Yesterday (Feb 5, 2010) I wrote about finding love to find God.  That would seem to mean that God isn’t in the business of killing.  His omnipotence can alter minds, fill hearts and create change, right?.  Why would anyone think that God would descend to killing?  Why would an all-powerful Being snuff out a life to make a point?  When God decided that Dr. Tiller was wrong to perform abortions ending the life of a child, why would ending the life of a man bring closure to  that situation?

Some years ago, I heard a beautiful presentation on the sacredness of life.  The speaker was powerful in his belief that it was a duty to protect the unborn…to bring each life into the world, no matter the circumstances.

After he finished, I asked the speaker what his group did to protect the young life once it came into the world.  How far did this group go to insure a measure of quality for this unwanted child.  “We encourage adoption”, was the reply.  Those words just hung in the air— like an albatross.

Me, too.  I urge adoption.    In fact, I urge birth control, avoiding the need for a choice between abortion and adoption.   But when all else fails, who cares for these unwanted and un-adopted babies?

A separate and recent conversation was with an intense and committed member of a large church community.  This sincere gentlemen talked about abortion and birth control being two sides of the same sin…that both denied a life sent from God.  Both ‘sins’, he said, were equally grievous.  Pardon me?

I am asking, struggling with this.  Where is the logic of sin in birth control.  How does birth control harm through malicious intent?  Isn’t there a bit of insanity in the man’s position?  I cannot find the logic.  I am asking.

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Unaborted And Unwanted

Some years ago a Deacon at my church delivered a deeply felt sermon on the ‘sin of abortion’ (his judgement/his wording).   Deacon Tim greeted parishioners at the end of the service.  As he reached to shake my hand, I asked, “What about the unaborted  yet unwanted children?  What about the babies born into lives of being unwanted, neglected, unloved— and very often abused?  What is the balance weight that justifies being born into such a life so as to avoid the ‘sin’ of abortion?  What sin holds the trump card?”

“God will provide.”   You think so?  Sorry.  Not to be flippant, but why are thousands of damaged children being handled by over-worked Social Welfare professionals?  Why are stories of abuse and neglect showing up in newspapers?   (I grant that stories of abused animals often receive more print inches that do the stories of abused children.  That is the subject of another blog.)

Without success, I do try to put my abortion thinking into clear and precise compartments.  So far, no luck.  If a person truly could be of two minds on one issue, I would do the duo.

A woman’s right to her own reproductive choices is clear–her body, her decision.  If only she had to the foresight to make an effective birth control decision before being faced with the Pro-Choice decision.

I don’t question a woman’s right to her own life and her own body.  I have many questions and great difficulty with a woman’s right to the life and the body of another human.

Pro Life and Pro Choice groups take their stands to the voting public via inclusion in most political campaigns.  For some churches, anti-abortion is a cornerstone, that so-called litmus test, for membership.  Others churches hold to silence.

The requirements of justice are much more.  Social Welfare programs cannot handle the issue alone.  Countless stories speak to that reality.   Pro Life people and churches speaking against the ‘sin’ of abortion must become part of an honest solution.  Addressing abortion as a grave sin punishable by eternal hell seems unbelievably lacking when stacked against an unwanted baby’s life of measured hell for simply being unwanted.  The unwanted child is  born and thereby saves the mother from a damnation that she probably wouldn’t acknowledge anyway?  Again, I don’t think so.

Is there a way to prioritize, giving  precedence to unwanted born children over those unwanted and aborted?  Can we move away from Bible verses condemning abortion and move into finding ways to care for neglected and abused babies?  Can we stack the sins in a different way so harming a child becomes more grievous that saving the mother from the sin of abortion?

I need my church to step up on this one…to the very top step, please.

Slip Sliding Away, Part 1 (ccr)

Those might be words from a song carried in my mind from the 1950’s or 1960’s.  Might even be a Bob Dylan phrase.  The words are perfect, slip sliding away.

My struggle is just that–my struggle,  but voicing my concerns might encourage others to speak to the ironies of holding a good man, Jesus, as the foundation of Christianity while behaving as if power and authority were the foundation of His Church On Earth.

This is not comfortable.  I carry the fears and prejudices of many years of belief, love and acceptance of what has been my church, my spiritual home.  As a young child through high school years, I attended daily Mass and Communion.  My dedication was complete.    By any measure, my life is winding towards the end and it puzzles me that the wisdom came so late.

How can I love and honor a church that is anti-gay?  How?  If the Church believes that man is the image and likeness of God (omniscient and omnipotent), how can the church be anti-gay?  We do not choose our sex or our sexual orientation.

The Church has at least covered clerical homosexual activity and at most condoned that activity.  Fine.  Consenting adults.  What need for hypocrisy?

How can I love and honor a church that excommunicates Sr. Margaret McBride because she approved an abortion to save the life of a mother of four?  Why is expulsion a weapon designed to protect unity?

How can I love and honor a church that is so anti-women, refusing them the right to fully participate in all levels of Church activity?  Why must Bishops and Archbishops continue to affirm the subjugated status of women?

How can I love and honor a church that continually covered the sexual and emotional abuse of children by ordained clergy.  Overwhelming and absolutely damning evidence continues to mount. Purging  towards justice has not happened.

More Beliefs

I believe that friendship is one of  the most delicate of connections. It is a bond strong enough to handle the weathering of the most difficult days, but can wither with the ordinary.

I believe that we parent until we die, though we need to parent very quietly once the child reaches puberty. After the child becomes an adult, totally silent parenting is our best option.

I believe that having fun is vastly over-rated for the young and under-rated for the elderly.

I believe that we have encased self-esteem in fake cotton candy.

I believe that ‘universal truth’ is extremely elusive.

I believe that civil discourse withers as underrated in our age of rage and vitriol.

I believe that those who oppose abortion must, in justice, provide for those unwanted children born because abortion was not an option.

I believe that every child is precious and deserves a run at ‘equal’.

I believe that the values taught in my childhood church grease the wheels of civilization.

I believe that the nuns, the Sisters, have given heart and soul to serve  many of those values.

I believe that social justice is our greatest hope of healing.

I believe that gratitude is under appreciated.

I believe that appreciation is the soul of gratitude.

A New Beginning, A New Resurrection (ccr)

In the Christian world, we mark the greatest miracle in the celebration of the Resurrection.  The  liturgy for Easter Mass is a splendid thing, lovely in every celebratory way.  Outside the churches, the buds of Spring are the standard metaphor for new life, for resurrections from the earth.

Some weeks ago this blog found “God’s Shopping List” a puzzle, one I will never solve.  Some comments found the answer in my faith labeled ‘weak’ and explained to me that God DID answer every prayer on the list, just not in the way the supplicant intended.  No point in furthering that debate, at least not if my weak faith is the linchpin.

For me, Easter Sunday is a new beginning of hope for the needs we seem to butcher or bury along the way, the needs of human existence that pull us away from one another and from the God of  different names, but the one personage we call Power.

WAR as  method and solution.  Brave women and men, through centuries of warring, live maimed in spirit and body, die too young, and become a blip on a historical list of shifting power.

PREJUDICE as  method and solution, a tool to maintain control and power, a constant fulcrum to keep ‘them’ below the ‘us’ we see as chosen.

ABUSE as method and solution.  The world requires more than keening in voice and action to end abuse of every kind.  ABUSE is WAR and PREJUDICE, inflicting pain to maintain the status of chosen.  ABUSE is in governments, churches, homes and in our schools.

RAPE as  method and solution.  Rape is violence, prejudice and abuse of power–an obscene use of a body function.

ABORTION as  method and solution.  Birth control is as available as a package of Life Savers, front and center on many retail counters.  Granted that women should have the right to control their own bodies.  No debate on the heart of that argument.  Two simple solutions to end the diversion debate of when a fetus becomes human, birth control and, when all else fails, self-control.

POVERTY as method and solution.  There are always reasons explaining why children die from malnutrition, but not a word of any of those reasons stop the cries of hunger.

DISHONEST GOVERNMENT as method and solution.  Listen to debates.  Read news reports and editorial comments.  Search for truth and balance.  Try to understand the rhetoric of well-meaning people using defamation to support argument.

Personal Integrity, Education, Health Care…the list is so long and convoluted beyond easy sorting.  This piece of writing is lame, indeed, because it offers the list of resurrection needs without methods and solutions.  If our world has grown too complicated for reasonable solutions, then the ramifications of that  growth are the greatest resurrection needs.  With all due respect, I add this to God’s Shopping List— and Man’s Working List.