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 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.
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