Monday, July 7, 2008

Sanctity of Life

I've wrestled with whether or not I should write this blog for a while now. Mainly because I had this fear that people would misinterpret it, and therefore ostracize me from their communities. I hope that whoever reads this has eyes to see what I'm actually saying.

If I ever met Henry Morgentaler, I would shake his hand.

And while shaking his hand, I would apologize to him for the hatred and threats on his life that have been proclaimed in the name of a God I believe in - a God that does not desire harm against him.

Since the Order of Canada was bestowed upon Dr. Morgentaler, I have read of people returning their honours in protest. I've been invited to Facebook groups decrying both Morgentaler and the decision. There has been a media flurry of public outcry. As of this week, things have quieted down considerably, and yet this topic still lingers with me. This is because the Christian community that I was raised in was one where we would line city streets in protest of abortion, bombarding passing vehicles with "Abortion is Murder" placards. There was an energy amongst Christians back in 1988 that was infectious, and I remember as a little boy being in awe of the number of people who vocalized their opposition, as 4 kms of Brantford's busiest road was clogged with placards and chants one Sunday afternoon.

Today, as I continue to explore what it means to follow Jesus, I have to lament the amount of energy that was put into a protest like that when we seem unwilling to exert similar energies to a deeper range of injustices. Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that people aren't silent, and thereby consenting to the ebb and flows of our society. But I haven't seen a similar protest against poverty or affluence. But I digress...

...only slightly. I don't want to talk about organizing new protests, but I want to speak into a new direction to focus the energies that followers of Jesus have. I don't think that anyone should publicly protest against issues like abortion unless they are willing to work towards viable alternatives (and I'm not just talking about adoption, this runs deeper). Are we willing to take in single, pregnant, mothers-to-be, and to provide for them? Are we willing to work towards the eradication of the shame of marginalized parenthood that makes so many desire abortions? Are we willing to clothe the naked and feed the poor? If we are male AND female, made in God's image, then are we willing to fight against the oppression of women within our patriarchal society - an oppressive force that makes the body seemingly the sole source through which freedom can be exercised? If we are not willing to do this, then why should anyone listen to us regarding this matter?

When I read about the kingdom of God, I see a language of freedom from oppression, not a language of shame or coercion, and most certainly not a vindictive language of violence. I hope I am not alone in thinking that it would be more productive to change the way we live our lives so as to bring change to our communities and our gendered relationships than to scream "murder!" at the top of our lungs. As one who believes in the sanctity of life, I choose to extend that to cover all aspects of life. As such, I live for a society in which gender does not necessitate oppression, and where the threat of death, hate, or harm is never uttered, even to our strongest opponents.

Let us bring justice into this world - a justice that invites all to revel in the sanctity of life from start to middle to finish.


Annie said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you.

I recently realized why so many girls (christian and 'non-christian') choose to have abortions... partly, anyway; because of the metaphorical 'scarlet letter' we brand them with in our churches and christian schools.

when i was young i attended a christian school at which pregnant girls were swiftly expelled when their 'sin' became public. you can imagine the loneliness they must have felt from the shunning they received from peers and religious authority figures. the saddest part is that those girls and others like them probably learned to see God in that light too, as everyone surrounding them had chosen to speak for Him, but not of love.

I know why so many women choose to vote pro-choice... because 'pro-life' to them feels a lot more like 'pro-hate' or 'pro-hypocrisy'. I strongly believe it takes more courage to look past the first layer and into the layers below than it does to rally the troops and organize an angry protest. We should be learning to look at Christ and die to ourselves and do what's hard (but right) and LOVE one another.

Dave Carrol said...

Nice work Dr...

I feel a very similar thing about the homosexual community. I had a gay prof in college that wouldn't come within ten feet of me just because I was a Christian.

What a wonderful legacy of love Christians have left. I'm not pro morgentaller but he's a whatever to me. The girls are the ones who need someone to talk with... care for them... they need a legit community that will commit to caring about them and their baby.

I remember chatting with a friend late at night in high school. I knew she had had an abortion but she had buried the pain so deep... she couldn't even say the words and admit it.

That's who the fervency that you're talking about should be placed as well. It looks bad because it's a disproportionate amount of energy in one area that is even shady theologically if it's even sound biblically (the protests)

any way... good blog david

Kristin Lee said...

thanks for making me think... I read it twice and I'll read it again.
godbless you dave

Luke said...

good post. geez, i had a debate in this similar vein with someone i know recently. i wish i made some of the points you have here, it's good stuff.

p.s. i added your blog to my house's blog list. hope you don't mind.