I Just Don't Believe It

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Quoted from Tom's blog, Ono Ekeh, whom I like but whose views I do not share, says this:

If social conditions were changed so that women were empowered, and if we effectively addressed issues such as health care, child care, family leave, wage inequity, domestic violence and other women’s issues, we could reasonably expect a significant reduction in the number of abortions in the United States.

I believe this to be the usual utter nonsense liberals like to feed us in the promotion of their cause. I don't think bettering social conditions will undo the perceived need for abortion. In fact, as we empower women, it may increase that perceived need as they move into positions of authority that require more attention than a mother of two can give them.

I don't think addressing social issues (as defined above) addresses the abortion problem at all. I think we need to address spiritual issues. We need to address very real fears held by individuals--not some shapeless mass of Women and their needs. Women who are driven to seek abortions are individuals with individual problems, needs, and concerns. When I speak of addressing this level, I'm not talking merely about health care and empowerment. I'm talking about loving concern for an individual in time of trial. Support, a kind voice, a shoulder to cry on, a person to come to when everything is overwhelming. When I argue that this is better than legislation, I do not mean to rule out legislation but to promote this "hands-on" person-to-person caring.

Let me try to use a very loose analogy to convey what I mean. There are several ways of addressing the issue of poverty and helping the poor. One way (shown to be largely ineffective) is to throw a lot of money at agencies designed to research, address, and remediate the problem. Another way was Dorothy Day's. She didn't theorize about poverty, she ran kitchens and shelters to help the poor. I don't know if her way was ultimately any more productive in a strictly bottom-line sense, but I do believe that it was redemptive. It show passionate, caring, redemptive, personal love.

When I eschew the high-falutin' laws, it isn't in favor of more laws about other things, it is in favor of this personal one-on-one contact--the kind of contact that occurs with people who pray at abortion clinics every day. I can't pass legislation. I can't make the courts leave it alone. But I sure as heck can reach out one woman at a time and try to help. I can try to let scared and frightened teenagers and children know that there is someone who cares and there are alternatives, viable, real alternatives. I can reassure them that life is not at an end, but at a thrilling new beginning. It is scary, but it isn't or needn't be the end of the world. (Although in some cases, these women need help constructing a new world--parents who have thrown them out of the house, boyfriends who have prostituted them, etc.) No law as outlined by Ono will ever touch these things. These things are only helped by concerned, prayerful individuals.

When I tout individual action over legislation this is where I am standing. If we can pass laws that stand--by all means, let us do it. Let us help society understand morality through our instruction. But as long as we face the impediments courts place in our way and the reality that we might not see a reasonable law that stands any time soon--the greatest action we can take is not to pass a passle of laws and regulations and requisitions for money to go to agencies to study the problem, but to reach out as one caring, loving person to another. To be the hands, feet, eyes, and ears of Jesus Christ and to let these women know, each and every one that they are loved--first by our weak and vacillating love, but more importantly by the Almighty love that never wavers and shows no shadow of change.

Anyone who believes the line espoused here has been duped. We've been doing this for thirty years only to see the abortion rates continue to rise. If we must legislate we should not legislate around abortion, but those who have the ability to do so should agitate for direct action. I doubt its efficacy at this point in time, but it is better than deceiving ourselves that we can leave the central issue alone and legislate all around it to achieve our ends. If we can't make it illegal, then we must not rely upon other laws to redress it. The problem calls for the presence of Jesus Christ in the world.

And I'm back to my central point--the Presence of Christ in the world requires me to contemplate and live His life for others. There is, so far as I know, no other way to bring His love to others. We do not bring His love and His healing by passing another series of utterly unrelated laws. It has done nothing heretofore other than salve the consciences of those who would say, "We've done the best that we can." We have not done the best that we can until we have done all that Christ commands.

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When the focus of life is on self, even reproducing can cramp one's style, and we see a world filled by adults who don't have children, high abortion rates, and people asking in all seriousness, "Is that all there is?" and opting out via suicide (assisted or not) when things get tough.

When the focus of life is outward, centered in God, then there is room for others to enrich existance, to share with, to care for.

The culture of death is a dead-end street, choosing self over others, death over life, man over God. They keep reaching for that one thing which will give meaning and focus - if only women were truly equal...if only I had that BMW...If only I could master this meditation technique or complete that diet life would be perfect.

Yet it always ends up empty, because it's missing the primary key piece - God instead of self as the center of the universe.

Yet its amazing how much they are still clinging to the relativism that brings them no peace, and how they are trying to drag us all down with them into the pit.

If women were empowered, if health care, child care, family leave, wage inequity, and domestic violence were effectively addressed then I do believe that would reduce the number of abortions. It wouldn't eliminate them, but there would be an effect. I know that our crisis pregnancy center has seen women who are considering abortions for one or more of these reasons.

But many of these things can be affected by simply living a holy Christian life, centered on God instead of the world. Legislation can help, but we can't legislate our way to a solution.

My grandmother was conceived in a crisis pregnancy. My greatgrandmother didn't seek a backroom abortion, didn't abandon this baby and named her Joy because of the joy she felt. My grandmother was the victim of rape as a teenager, and held onto her dignity and raised my father who was conceived of that forced union, when she could have given him up, or living in LA like she did, she certainly could have found an abortion. My oldest niece was conceived out of wedlock, but my brother happily married his bride (and probably the pregnancy got her to agree to it!) My youngest niece has recently had her own crisis pregnancy, and resisted all the temptations and arguments of her peers and friends and family to abort or give up her child.

Who is more truly empowered - the person who chooses for life and truth and family over death and convenience and social prestige and wealth?

In my family, I am glad we have made the choices we did...we have paid prices for them, but in the balance of right and wrong, we chose life and good for the most part over the culture of self and death.

Dear Sue,

Thank you for sharing those stories. We often underestimate the power of simple witnessing. Our protestant brothers and sisters talk about it ad nauseum but it is a very important part of living a very simple Christian life. However, it takes courage. Thanks for setting an example.





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on May 7, 2004 7:32 PM.

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