Nowhere has our callow politics asserted itself more thoughtlessly and noisily than in the politicization of personal or private life.
I’m proud to be a part of a movement whose great concern is learning to love your neighbor as you love yourself. And as we move into the new year, I hope those voices of justice will grow stronger—and I wish for some other things as well.
It's hard to imagine a more efficient way to rack up diverse denunciations than Rep. Todd Akin's approach in an interview on Sunday, when in one breath he both promoted a foul bit of junk science alleging that rape victims don't generally get pregnant (and thus don't need abortion services) and coined the term "legitimate rape." Pretty much everyone everywhere has condemned his comments, and rightly so. A number of rape victims have written responses, including Shauna Prewitt, whose post at xoJane went viral and taught a lot of us something appalling that we didn't know.
How do we move from Jesus' core ethical mandate to the complex issues we face in the modern world?
I recall three times when the churches I served were picketed. The one that was by far the most traumatic had to do with abortion.
"Not God bless America, God damn America!" bellowed Jeremiah Wright from his former pulpit. "That’s in the Bible for killing innocent people." This sermon quote--actually, usually just the "God damn America" part, stripped of any context whatsoever--created a media frenzy, earned death threats for Wright and jeopardized a then-parishioner's presidential campaign. "I don't think God will continue to bless America," said Rick Santorum the other day, "if we continue to kill 1.2 million children every year." Unlike Wright, Santorum is himself a candidate for president. Yet two days later Google offers mostly crickets.
In October, a newly formed Right to Life group sponsored a week-long conference, entitled "Abortion and Feminism," on the campus of Yale Divinity School. The pro-choice posters posted by the Students for Reproductive Justice made it clear that seminarians are not of one mind on the issue.
At a book signing, Steve Earle was speaking when someone leaned on a light switch and the windowless room went dark. "Did I die?" Earle asked in a quiet voice.
One in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. But as United Methodist pastor Elise Erikson Barrett points out, we don’t much like to talk about miscarriage.
What would happen if we were to discover that an existing pill, one already used for legitimate medical reasons and so important that it wouldn’t be banned, was also effective in inducing abortions?