Tuesday, May 03, 2022

PRO-CHOICE IS PRO-LIFE: How to speak to religious thinkers about this polarizing issue by Lydia Cornell

How to speak to religious thinkers about this polarizing issue by Lydia Cornell 


I wrote this in 2005 and updated it in 2019 and again, just today: 


No one likes or is "for" abortion. The main challenge is this: if you make abortion illegal, how do you punish the crime? The USA is a society of civil rights, privacy rights, freedom of the individual. We are unlike countries with religious or Sharia law. 


You can't put a mother in prison who has 5 other mouths to feed and can't or doesn't want to carry her rapists' baby to term. You can't punish a woman for using a coat-hanger or gin-filled bathtub for a self-induced abortion. 


We can legislate things like suicide (yes, suicide is illegal!) but it's hard to convict a person for taking his own life. It's hard to put a dead person in jail. We live in a society that values the CIVIL RIGHTS of all its citizens, who are created equal. 


In the USA we are a free and civil society of Jews, Christians, Muslims, atheists, agnostics, Native Americans, and all sorts of spiritual thinkers. Our founders made sure we are a society NOT based on religious law. So, if a 12-year-old rape victim gets a back-alley abortion and dies - Supreme Court voted in Roe v. Wade, that the danger to the woman's life is what must be protected. The idea of "first do no harm" to a human's life. 


There is a reason the womb is encased in the separate individual body of a the woman, a human being. Her womb is not community property. As far as I know, there are no public womb farms with rows and rows of wombs protected by armed guards. This is not a state or government issue. No bureaucrat, government agent, policeman, moral judge, religious tribe, fanatical fundamentalist -- or any other human being has the right to dictate what a private citizen does with her private parts. Not in a civilized society where all are created equal. 


The Biblical Issue

In all of Christ's teachings, he only cared about how we treat each other: The Golden Rule. In every one of his Beatitudes, he taught the laws of love. "The meek shall inherit the earth." Life is not about flesh, it is spirit. The spiritual values of love and compassion are the only things Christ cared about.


Every God-fearing Christian must know this: The Bible is about the soul's journey toward freedom and God. But it is the choices we make which form our character. We are not robots.  Every human being has the right of free will. FREE WILL means each person can choose to make a mistake and his or her soul has to suffer the consequences and grow from this.  Every story in the Bible concerns deeply flawed humans who made terrible mistakes, but were forgiven and redeemed if they turned to their Father — God. Without free will, they could never have this journey or learned these lessons. The whole point is love, forgiveness and redemption.

The Bible is also a history book about the tribes of Israel, their journey out of the bondage of slavery by the Egyptians. Their journey out of captivity and the salvation of their soul, depicted as their search for a spiritual homeland. 

Christ's most important law is the Golden Rule, or how we treat our fellow human beings.  But before you say "How we treat a fetus is more important than how we treat living, born human beings!" you are decidedly WRONG.  This is not what the Great Peacemaker taught. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.  No where is this subject mentioned in any of his teachings, or anywhere else in the Bible.

When does life begin? Are we spiritual or material? It is absurd to think that a piece of prenatal tissue that may or may not be viable, and that is the genetic result of a supremely private act between husband and wife (or tragically, between rapist and victim) -- and is part of a distinctly separate human woman with free will, living in a civil and secular and non-religious society - the "Land of the Free" with privacy rights and civil rights — to think this is worth killing a doctor or health-care provider over (a born, living, breathing, human being) is the ultimate evil. 


The Violent Anti-Abortion Movement


Is killing pro-life? I am stunned and deeply saddened over the called "pro-life" terrorists in this country. They are pro-death, not pro-life. They are anti-life. They are so deeply wrong and tragically flawed in their thinking, it is beyond comprehension. 


For these hateful, un-Christian, pro-death extremists who call themselves "pro-life" and worship their automatic assault rifles -- for them to murder a living human being to save an unborn defective fetus -- to think that a "potential life" that is ensconced within the separate, free, individual body of a woman, a private citizen — is more important than the living, the born, the mother's own life, her already-born CHILDREN... or the victims of mass shootings, or of our illegal bombing campaigns. What about the lives of orphans, soldiers, unarmed Black men with expired vehicle registrations; the homeless, the poor, the destitute or even one's enemies such as abortion provider Dr. Tiller —  is un-Christian, immoral, and against everything Christ himself taught.


I've been thinking about the root of hatred lately —  and it's obvious that "evil" (I don't believe in evil having any power; it is the liar, the serpent) is always the same regressive, self-centered, fear-based, bigoted patriarchy that Christ fought against and that has been here since the beginning of civilization: the ancient dark force of fundamentalism. 

But this train of thought is our only enemy — the archaic, primitive hateful force that was behind the Inquisition, the Ku Klux Klan's lynchings, Hitler's pathology, the assassination of all Peacemakers from Christ, to JFK to Bobby to Gandhi to Martin Luther King. 

And of course their messengers and propagandists. It has always been the same force of evil, it just keeps changing its name. 

In all of Christ's teachings, he only cared about how we treat each other: The Golden Rule. In every one of his Beatitudes, he taught the laws of love. "The meek shall inherit the earth." Life is not about flesh, it is spirit. The soul is not located in the material body or in fetal tissue. The spiritual values of love and compassion are the only things Christ cared about.