Skip to main content

Abortion and Gay Marriage: Time to Rethink Them


Abortion and gay marriage are difficult issues for most of us.  In fact, I would say they are for all of us. 

They are often so misunderstood and those dealing directly with them are many times dismissed, condemned, or otherwise mistreated because of it.

Abortion.

Abortion is always complicated.  I have known couples, families, individuals who have been through this.  None of them ever took it lightly or thought of it as some easy way out of a difficult situation.  They each one agonized over the whole process.  And they all carried afterwards a wound, a deep feeling of remorse, free-floating guilt for years, the burden of second guessing their decision, and the grief and loss that come from going through something like that.

We should have the greatest compassion for women and those closest to them who choose to have an abortion.  Why do we often forget or refuse to do that?

Abortion clinics should be places of solace, quiet care, and sympathy.  Not places of protest and screaming taunts and violence against physicians.

We need to transform our thinking about this.  For too long we’ve made abortion some kind of monstrous act.  Is it heartbreaking and emotionally traumatic?  Yes, in every way.  But it is always a woman’s choice, not yours or mine.  Not the church’s or the government’s or anyone else’s.

Abortions are legal in this country.  Our highest court has made it so.  Let’s not forget that.  No one is breaking the law having one.  It is a personal, often agonizing, moral choice.  And those who make it should be left alone to deal with all of the physical and emotional ramifications of it as best they can.  They do not deserve ridicule, judgment, or sermonizing.

Gay marriage.

We have been so unkind to gays in this country, forever.  We have teased and made fun of them, cast them off and condemned them, and sometimes killed them out of hate, ignorance, and intolerance.

For years gays were mocked and shamed and told they were perverted and over sexed and depraved.  And now we condemn them for wanting to have a loving, monogamous relationship within the safeguards of legal marriage.  We belittle them for the very things we said they never were—responsible, moral, and committed to one another.

Gay marriage should be legal in this country.  It should be sanctioned by the church.  It should be celebrated by all loving, caring people everywhere.

Gay marriage in no way takes away from heterosexual marriage.  In fact it elevates marriage to a place of honor and importance for all couples in love.

I am often impatient with the religious community when it comes to these issues.  The idea that we can use religion as some sort of justification for shaming and condemning people who choose to have an abortion, or who are gay and want to be legally married, is a violation of everything religion should mean.

The principle of love runs through every religion known to man.  That alone should drive our behavior in life.  The prohibitions of religion should not form our theology.  Love should.

It’s time as a society, as supposedly a Christian nation, certainly as a nation of religious beliefs, that we start treating all people with respect and human dignity.  And that includes those who choose to have an abortion and those who are gay and want to be married in a legal, and if they desire, a church ceremony.

Jesus said, “Love one another.”  He did not qualify that.  He did not limit it.  He just said to do it.

That’s the hard part of any religious belief.  It’s the challenge of life itself.  But it is worthy of our best efforts.  It is the human thing to do.

© 2012 Timothy Moody

Popular posts from this blog

The Light in the Faces of Our Incredible Human Family

National Geographic Journalist Paul Salopek is walking across the world on foot to trace the pathways of the first humans who wandered out of Africa in the Stone Age to claim the earth as theirs. His journey will cover 21,000 miles and is estimated to take 10 years. He is four years into his massive expedition and already he has discovered that humanity is mostly kind and generous, welcoming and caring, hard-working and disciplined.
I watched a brief piece about Salopek’s journey on the PBS News Hour this week. I have included a link below.
What is extraordinary about his adventure is his realization that in spite of all the wars and turmoil across the globe, he has learned that “The world is an incredibly hospitable place.” In following the ancient trade route called “The Silk Road,” Salopek has gotten to know a variety of people young and old. And though he has so far encountered a few dangerous situations where he had his water supply stolen, was once ambushed by raiders, and was sho…

Our National Lack of Self-esteem

There is a brokenness in our society, a pervasive moral collapse, a reckless disregard for community, neighborliness, courtesy, and compassion.
Our government leads by this example. Both parties are incompetent to guide us into a more responsible living, into a serviceable structure of humanity. Our leaders are dominated by greedy oligarchs who don’t just want more, they want everything, even if it costs our society its dignity, its soul, even its future.
What is on display here daily is a wretched lack of self-esteem. The loss now influences all of us. We’re all affected in ways that keep us shamed by our actions.
When we feel powerless, aimless, without any higher goals than the accumulation of things and the momentary thrill, we then mute our intelligence. We live by raw emotions—anger, appetite, urges. We don’t think, we don’t consider, we merely react. We push. We disregard. We threaten. We act out. And we fail.
Self-esteem is a learned process. It builds on genuine successes that ar…

Is the Soul Solid, like Iron?

Mary Oliver has a beautiful little poem in which she asks:

“Is the soul solid, like iron?
or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?”

It is both.

The soul, we are told by philosophers, theologians, and mystics, is our essence, the permanence of our true self. It is that part of us that lives beyond death. Or so we are taught by religion. Where exactly the soul exists beyond that, has of course, been long debated.

There are times in life when something deep within us is, as Mary Oliver says, solid as iron and we operate out of some sense of aliveness, confidence, and inner strength. It may be fleeting, but there when needed; or it may carry us through long periods of endurance when we build a sturdy self, confident and capable of our abilities and talents.

This is the work of the soul. This is a part of our spiritual development. This is what enables us to believe there are forces in life, loving and generous and mystical, that nurture and compel us tow…