For those who oppose abortion, there is no greater evil!
No greater wrong.
And none more loathsome than those who perform abortions and those who support them.
From podium and pulpit and print, they hear and live a constant message: God hates abortion, the willful termination of life before birth; there is no greater violation of God's will and purpose than abortion, and no greater sinner than those who do the deed and those who are their political and religious accomplices.
Roe v. Wade is the greatest cause of America's downfall. Until such time as this great evil is cancelled, America's downturn will continue, and God's curse upon us will intensify.
And so on and so forth.
I appreciate the intensity of their faith and the power of the message.
No less so than my own faith and the power of the message I hear every day in my part of the world.
The purpose of this essay is not to analyze, but to respect the intensity of the anti-abortionist ... respect it for what it's worth - and it's not without worth. Commitment and energy are never without worth.
Sadly, it's nearly impossible for people of such opposing points of view to ever share a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Rarely, do people of such divergent opinions have a chance to share with one another, not only their respective views, which are pretty much on the surface of things, but the deeper stuff, the inner motives and fears, what Jung might have termed, "the shadow" within all of us. Why we respond to life as we do - with love and anger, hope and despair, welcome and rejection.
Why is it that we stand firm on some principles and loose on others?
Believe in some things and then let other things go?
What we seek in life, and what we ignore?
What we treasure and what we discard?
It's not easy to see ourselves and why we respond as we do.
It's mostly how we were reared (nurture), but I think DNA (nature) plays a decisive role, too.
Hard to see it all, and it takes work.
As I contemplate those with whom I seriously disagree, I have to constantly face myself, so that I remain centered in my life's task and the values I cherish. Constantly questioning myself, but not losing myself in the questions, lest I become bogged down and fail to act.
I am what I am in terms of what I cherish and believe. But those very things are best served with self-awareness and caution.
While I might be tempted to discredit those with whom I disagree, it would be a mistake to ignore their humanness - their loneliness and their fears, their nagging sense of time passing and the coming of death, the loss of hope that all experience at varying times in the journey, the quest for meaning and the power of religious communities to convey wholeness and strength.
Everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time.
I forget that sometimes ... I forget the humanness of those with whom I disagree, or those whom I find disagreeable to me ... and I forget my own humanness, too - my unfinished work, my fears and weaknesses, the junk floating around in my spirit.
Yes, of course, to appreciate and regard well my gifts, and they are many and varied - but the work of integration is never done, and there's a great deal remaining.
The struggle will continue ... Cain rises up against Abel ... and each of us, all of us, are both Cain and Abel within ourselves, and within society, alternating at times, being the one who destroys, and the one who is destroyed.
I suppose when Micah suggests that we walk humbly with God, this might be the piece that flows from the deep awareness of ourselves - a strange brew of so many voices and experiences and shadows. We are Abel and Cain, both.
We are called, so it seems, by the very nature of life, to make choices and take a stand, nonetheless. Life doesn't afford us endless time with which to ponder the eternal verities and gather further information before we choose, before we act.
So choose we do, and act we must. And why I should be in one place, and someone else in another, is, or course, a great mystery, demanding both gratitude for life and respect for the other, to recognize their humanity and their passion, and grant them what I would hope they could grant to me - respect and a listening ear, a willingness to consider thoughtfully their world.
And to engage in dialogue, as best we can, when those rare opportunities emerge.
And most importantly, while critiquing points of view and arguments, to refrain from vilifying and never to lose sight of the humanness, the vulnerability, we all share.
Yes, I know - I've not resolved anything in the above essay. But I've pondered some things that seem important to me, and maybe to you, too.
And maybe I have a grown a wee bit more ...