8.21.2010

Can of Worms: Politics and Religion, My Thoughts

What is a Can of Worms Post?

I am sorry it has taken me so long to put my thoughts out here.  I have been extremely busy and every time I think about this topic it makes my head hurt; it is just such a big topic.

Just in case you missed the series from a couple of weeks ago:
Here is the introduction to what is going on.
Here are the Guest Posts (the order was picked randomly, but worked out very well, I think).
Leila
Kate
Michelle
Sarah

I asked these ladies to write on this topic because I will in no way be able to do it as eloquently or intelligently as they did.

But now, it is time for my thoughts.  *deep breath*

For one of my very first Can of Worms, I wrote about the Separation of Church and State, as it specifically related to schools.  As I read each of the guest posts and the comments on them, I kept coming back to this idea.

And from that idea, I find myself a registered Democrat who wishes that the Republican way of doing things would work, but who thinks the Democrats have the right idea on a lot of things.  Huh?  Yes, you read that right, I will try to explain.

The most important belief I think I hold is that Religion and Politics should be kept separate.  Not in the extreme "remove 'Under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance" way, but separate nonetheless.

When it comes to the Republican party, the idea of small government with less taxes is a great theory.  In theory, CEOs of major corporations would, because it is the right thing to do, donate their excess wealth to those in need and operate their companies with integrity.  People, in general, would use the money they are not being forced to pay in taxes to help their fellow people.  BUT, we all know this does not work, the current state of our economy is proof of it.  And my question to those who vote Republican, you don't want the government to have high taxes and decide what it will do with our money, but you DO want the government to mandate that abortion is illegal? But, according to the 'small government, less taxes' philosophy, those with money, when they do not have to pay as many taxes, will reach out to help women who find themselves in crisis pregnancies, right?  I so wish we could focus on other issues than abortion, but it always comes back to this.  I understand why, I just do not like it.  It seems to me that if the Republican party is really about small government and state and/or private control, they should advocate for keeping abortion legal - let the private (church) sector deal with preventing it.

And when it comes to the Democratic party, well, there are some great ideas there too.  Civil rights for everyone regardless of race, gender, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation and proposed government programs to make it work.  But, we all see that this does not work either.  Those in government are just as bad about lining their own pockets and the pockets of lobbyists their friends, that even with good ideas for programs to help those in need, they do not pan out well at all.  And it seems to me, that if the Democratic party is for big government with lots of regulations, they should be advocating to either make abortion illegal or at least harder to access.

So, where do I end up?

I think we need to go back to Separation of Church and State.

Should we allow homosexuals to marry?  Yes - secularly.  A committed, homosexual couple should not be denied the benefits of marriage.  Does a Catholic Priest (or any other religious clergy) HAVE to perform a marriage between two people of the same gender?  No.  The Catholic Church specifically defines marriage between a man and a woman, thus same-gender marriage should not be sanctioned in the Catholic Church.  Should Catholics be accepting and compassionate of homosexuals?  YES!  And the Church teaches us specifically this.  Should government permit marriage (or civil unions if you prefer) between two people of the same gender?  Yes.  Please go to post of 5/11/2012 for an update on this topic.

Should abortion be illegal?  No.  The church teaches that abortion is wrong - and I AGREE.  I agree because I have been taught and believe that life begins at conception.  I was not taught this by government (or maybe I was because I was taught in Science class that we all start as a single cell when the egg and sperm combine), I was taught this by my parents and by my Church.  Abortion is legal and I would not have one because I have been taught it is wrong.  (And I always include this, I am NOT speaking of the death of an unborn child that falls under the doctrine of double effect).  So, why not put our energies into educating women and girls about when life begins and work to eradicate abortion so it does not matter if it is legal or not?  I would feel like an actual victory would have been won, rather than just putting a band-aid on a bad situation. Please go here for an update on this topic.

And while, I am on the abortion topic.  I believe the life of the mother is equally as important as the life of the unborn child; and I think that making abortion illegal rather than making it so that no one wants an abortion tells a scared-out-of-her-mind pregnant woman that her life isn't as important as the life of her unborn child.  I am not saying that is the intent, but for the woman who feels she has no other option, taking away the only option she feels she has may be just as detrimental as the abortion itself.  I have no proof or data for this, it is just how I feel about it.

What about regulation of businesses?  We, as a society, have proven that we are greedy and selfish.  That said, I say working towards ethical practices by executives needs to be our primary objective.  Until that is a reality, removing regulations is irresponsible and could create and even worse economic environment in which to live.  If our churches and families placed more value on ethical practices and hard work than, say, large donations, we would see children growing up with an inherent desire to work hard rather than just make a lot of money.

What about war?  In some of the previous posts there was discussion about war and that some wars are just.  Even that the current war in Iraq may be a just war.  The United States is seen as a big bully in the world view.  When the Taliban attacked us, they saw it as just attack.  Was it?  Personally, I don't think so.  Therefore, from whose perspective is a war 'just'?  I find it very interesting that most in high-ranking military positions are Republican.  The party that favors less government interference is more often the party in favor of going to war.  So, perhaps it is less government interference in our own country, more in others?  (I am not being snarky here, just making an observation.)

I guess what I come back to is this:  there obviously need to be some government decided laws and regulations - anarchy doesn't work out so well.  And, as voters, we need to vote based on our beliefs - be it the beliefs of our family, our faith, or that we have formed on our own.  We (as a society) have continually elected selfish people into positions of power and we have placed value on things rather than people.  Until that changes, we will see the same cycles continuing over and over again.  In my opinion, that doesn't change by voting based on a single issue, on a party-line, or, frankly, voting at all.  It changes with the family.  With the church.  By sharing what we believe and living as Jesus taught us, with compassion and understanding, and being good examples of our faith.

I want to know WHY I should or shouldn't do something.  I don't want someone telling me I have to do it or I can't do it.  That is what I have loved about my recent Reversion to the Catholic Church.  Growing up I was always told what I should and shouldn't do, the whys were often left out.  Now, as I learn the whys and the hows, I see it makes sense and I see myself living a more Catholic life because I want to, because I believe it is right.

I think it is the same thing with government.  Until we change how we do things to developing the inherent desire to do what is right, we will continue down this very slippery slope we are on.  Increased regulations or less regulations, it will not matter.

So, my summary to this very long post:  Politics and religion should be as separate as possible.

35 comments:

  1. ACK!!! That was about twelve times as eloquent as mine!!! Well said!

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  2. Could you say a bit more about what you mean by separation of Church and State? (or point me back to the obvious paragraph that I probably missed!) Because of the way our government is set up I don't understand how one would achieve the separation that I *think* you mean. Because I have a right to vote, and my vote must be determined by what I think is best, and since I am a religious person my Church's teachings will influence my vote which will influence the government (or at least that's the ideal).

    I agree with a lot of your views (for instance that the important thing is to protect pregnant women, not to outlaw abortion) but I'm stuck on the idea that separating religion from politics is the solution.

    Also, I just wanted to say that with things such as just war there is an extended theory and it is not as if some random person gets to decide. There is no way that the invasion of Iraq counted as just, no matter what "good" conservatives tell you. But I didn't get to go to a Catholic college, so my reading on just war is much less than one would get in a whole class and I can't explain all the requirements for just war. But I do want to say that it isn't some random "oh, the pope says it is/isn't just so it is/isn't" thing.

    Anyway, I'm quite impressed with your post. I have no intention of tackling something this big any time soon. :-) So please don't read my comment as tearing it apart!

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  3. Nice Post. I don't agree that one can truly separate religion and politics. Much like you don't agree capitalist policies can work. It's that whole "perfect world" thing. Doesn't work either way. If one lives their faith fully...it will fully shape their thoughts on crucial matters as they vote...and so there will always be candidates willing to pander to that. Also, i don't believe we elect selfish people...I believe people run for office truly wanting to do good...but they get so drunk with power once in office...that THEN they become more obsessed with STAYING in office than doing the right thing.

    Unfortunately, the major issues when considering faith (the right to life, for one) is that much more important than some of the other things. There is a whole generation of babies who have been killed in the womb and don't get to voice their opinion in the polls, thanks to our society's supposed "separation of religion and politics"

    Unfortunately, what many people think of as separation of politics and religion is really the persecution of those trying to live their faith. It silences only the faithful.

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  4. While I applaud you for putting your thoughts into writing (over such an expansive topic, nonetheless!) I have to admit that I finished this post feeling extremely confused. Although you laid out your beliefs, I still don't understand the why behind them and in fact I felt your stance was very inconsistent.

    "Increased regulations or less regulations, it will not matter." - So then one could claim either one would do just as well?

    Also, I, like Rae, don't quite understand how you reconcile how one can "vote based on their beliefs" yet keep Church and State separate. (That comment about how that really just silences the faithful by Michelle was killer). If I believe abortion to be murder, how can I allow others to commit murder by supporting it - even if I myself wouldn't do it (to just take an example)? I believe this is casually leading others to sin, which makes me just as culpable.

    I have so, so many other things I'd like to address in this post, but I will just take it up on my own blog, as I've been saying I will forever! Thanks for giving me more fuel to the fire.

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  5. I think separation of church and state is more than just not having a church-run government (as in Iran just as an example) but also finding that fine line between where we aren't legislating morality but we are simply meeting the needs of the people.

    A 'perfect' situation would be where we didn't need an abortion law one way or the other, that people just saw the wrongness (is that a word?) of it and didn't do it. Same with helping the poor, we wouldn't need welfare (and as it is now, it's horrible), but those with more would just help those with less.

    But, since we are sinful, fallen people that clearly won't happen.

    So, as we live in the United States where we have religious freedom (and the freedom to be not religious), I think it is important that our laws are respectful of the beliefs of those other groups - not just the faithful. IF the laws were all changed to match what we, as Catholics believe, we would be silencing everyone else. It is the beautiful frustration of our system and our country.

    Your comments so far are why I've been so hesitant to write on this topic - I know what I think in my head, but somewhere between my head and the screen it gets all jumbled up. (I would never have been a good lawyer or on a debate team).

    How to explain where I think the separation needs to come in, because as I said, I don't believe it should (or is even possible) to do it in an extreme way? I think as individuals we have a responsibility to vote based on our beliefs and our faith, but I do not think that laws should be enacted solely based on a Religious faith or belief. The job of the government/politician is to hear the beliefs of all of the people and then make the best decision that serves all of those people. We are always going to have some laws we agree with and some we don't. Again, it is the beautiful frustration of our system.

    I hope I've helped to clarify a little bit here - I'm a little afraid I haven't though :(.

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  6. I understand the frustration. I grew up in a fundamentalist home that felt the government is supposed to inforce Christian belief and it was pathetic to watch really. As kids we heard all the time about how other religions were out to get us everytime they tried to assert anything, and we were trampling all over them all the time. Fundamentally I agree with your post, as christians we are called to live within our faith, and we are free to vote with our convictions. And I think that we should do everything in our power to educate women and help women with unexpected pregnancies. We should also do all in our power to build up christian families and live as a witnedd to our faith. But to create a world that is run by any one religion? I hope I never see the day.

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  7. Rebecca, I hope I didn't come off wrong. I simply mean that there's no such thing as true separation of church and state. It's just not possible. Someone's views get silenced in the process. That is why we must use our faith to guide our principles to do the best thing. Unfortunately, our society becomes more and more secular...so people of faith are more and more marginalized. In the history of the world and all civilizations, the pattern is something that is repeated over and over.

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  8. Young Mom - I agree, it's our differences that keep us balanced and are so important.

    Michelle - not at all. I think no matter what the form of government is someone's views are silenced, or at least less valued. To aim for balance is so important I think.

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  9. Wow, there's a lot I would like to say, but I will save it for a future blog post. What I must say is this:

    1) Abortion is not a religious issue. If we were lobbying for a law that says one must believe in the Trinity, or the Immaculate Conception, or that all must go to Mass on Sundays, then that would be wrong, of course. But the belief that abortion should be illegal is a position that is held by both religious people (of all stripes) and also atheists, libertarians, agnostics, etc. There are atheists for life, libertarians for life, etc. They even have groups and websites. But you will never find groups of "Atheists for the Immaculate Conception." So, we need to separate out what is a religious issue and what is a human rights issue.

    2) We legislate morality all the time. Murder, stealing, fraud, assault, etc... all of these are moral issues. All of them. So, if you don't want a society to legislate morality, you need to make sure we abolish courts and release all the prisoners.

    3) If you truly believe that the unborn are fully human, then to say that they shouldn't have a law to protect their lives is unconscionable. What other group of humans would you leave unprotected by law? Black people? Jews? Women? Disabled people? I suspect you want those groups to be protected by law (of course). But then if you say that abortion should not be illegal, then you are saying either a) they are not quite as human as you are (which is completely contrary to science and our faith) or b) they are fully human, but still deserve no protection under the law.

    I don't see any other option. Let me know if I am missing something.

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  10. Leila, I like the way you wrote #3...I'm horrible at making that point, but you do it so well. And #2...I know that's true, too. But people always like to just paint abortion as the only moral issue...when it's really just the tip of the iceburg. Thanks, slos, for the distinction between "religious issue" and "human rights issue"...I often think that is where these conversations get lost, so you got it back there.

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  11. I read your post days ago, and am not sure how to respond. I'd like to ditto everything that Leila said and add that you asked which party better aligns with Catholic teaching. Then, your answer was basically that politics and religion should be separate. So, I'm stumped. :)

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  12. Sorry I'm late in replying again - 23 hours of work in 2 days plus no internet at home last night will do that to a girl ;).

    Anyway...

    Lauren, you are right, I didn't really answer my own question, because well, I think a small part of me was hoping to be swayed one way or the other, but the series of posts only solidified my thoughts that to as much as possible, religion and politics should be separate.

    Leila,
    I see your points. I guess I just know there are also Catholics, Protestants, Atheists, etc. who are pro-choice as well...and would take the exact opposite stance that you did and that is my point. That so many people disagree vehemently on this issue, that we need to start with educating and teaching others to see why before we just outlaw it.
    I'm more of a 'come around to my way of thinking' than a 'because I said so' person. And I'm not saying you don't have valid, logical points, but we need to get those valid, logical points out there!

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  13. There are no pro-choice Catholics. Anyone who claims to be Catholic and pro-choice is wrong. One must choose; one can't be both.

    In parenting- there are times to sit and discuss, and there are times to say NO. When a child is about to run in front of a car- you yell first and discuss later.

    There are issues that we can discuss and debate- perhaps the war on drugs for one- and there are issues that are matters of life and death. I am 100% in favor of building a pro-life culture and eliminating the desire for abortions at all. But the first step is making it illegal and narrowing the access. This is an industry focused on our poor and minorities. IT. MUST. BE. STOPPED. It must be stopped legally AND through education, prayer and outreach. But it MUST be stopped. Today. I cannot understand your tolerance of the legality. If you agree that abortion is wrong- that life begins at conception- then it is murder. How can you tolerate the legality of murder?

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  14. It's not that I tolerate the legality of murder, it's how I think we need to go about making it illegal. I haven't said it here, I've realized, but I've said it before - I think it should be illegal, but there MUST also be ENOUGH programs and supports in place to 1) prevent unwanted pregnancy and 2) support women who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy. UNTIL those happen, I feel we (as a society) are still just missing an opportunity for real change.

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  15. So, I'm so tired I had to ask Lauren about her last post and she pointed out it was a quote from my post and is in direct opposition to my last comment.

    This is why I worry when I write posts like this - that I won't get things out right or completely.

    Here is how I see the full picture: I don't think abortion should be made illegal tomorrow as in just an about face of the current law - I think it should be the ultimate goal, with the supports I mentioned in place. I think I said it once on a post of Leila's, it's a difference of how we should get there, not whether we should get there.

    Thanks Lauren!

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  16. Rebecca, would you say the same thing if the issue were slavery? There were those at the time who said that, sure, slavery was wrong, but it's not the right 'time' to free the slaves, since the proper economic conditions, etc. were not yet in place. Would you agree with them?

    If all UWV fans in the nation were not protected from murder in the U.S., would you want the nation to make sure the 'time was right' before they were protected? Should we wait for a near-Utopia, and until then let's have all the UWV fans be slaughtered if others saw them as less than human or inconvenient?

    You answer still leaves me thinking that you believe the unborn aren't quite as human as the rest of us. Otherwise, why do they deserve protection under law later?

    By the way, the people who are opposed to crisis pregnancy centers, and who are trying their darndest to shut them down, are Democrats. So, how do we get there from here, when one entire party is not only allowing the death of innocents, but promoting the death of innocents, not only in its official platform, but in its policies and actions as well?

    Also, it is true and yet completely irrelevant that some Catholics are in favor of abortion. Some Catholics are also in favor of theft. Some atheists are, too. Some Christians are, too. I am not getting your point. Are you saying that since some Christians are for abortion, then we need to defer to their very sinful stance on a human rights issue?

    Not getting it. Honestly, I don't understand.

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  17. http://www.ncregister.com/register_exclusives/crisis-pregnancy-centers-a-way-to-shut-us-down/

    Proof that the Dems are trying to destroy pro-life crisis pregnancy centers which provide the kind of help that you say (and we all believe) is necessary.

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  18. I'm not saying we have to wait for a near-Utopia, there is no perfect situation, and I think that when slavery was abolished all of the possible steps to make it as good a thing as it could be were put in place. It wasn't perfect as we still suffer the fall-out today, and I think that is further proof that we need to go about it the right way.

    We do not have that situation with Abortion right now, and the link you provided is further proof. And with Republicans wanting to cut funding for assistance programs, and proof that our society takes a 'that's what I pay taxes for' approach to helping those in need, I just don't think we are where it's as good as it can be.

    I'm assuming you mean WVU by UWV (I'm tired and it took me a while to figure out what you were referring to)...and I would have to say I'd feel the same way. I don't LIKE either situation (the real or hypothetical) but I think we have to work with where we are.

    Ideally, the assistance programs would be put in place at the same time abortion is made illegal AND the programs would be well staffed and fully-funded on the day the law went into effect. I don't think we should defer to those who think abortion is right or good, and we'll never convince 100% of the people. What we need is to ensure that the woman who would've had an abortion, KNOWS, WITHOUT A DOUBT that she and her baby are both valued, loved, and will be OK.

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  19. The link would probably help...
    http://www.catholic.com/radio/calendar.php

    And click here to find a station near you:
    http://www.catholic.com/radio/stations.asp

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  20. Do you ever listen to Catholic Answers Live? Their shows are available to download and listen to and various formats. I subscribe to them on iTunes and listen to them via podcast. On Monday the 23rd, Tim Staples spoke about the 5 Non-negotiables. It's a two hour special. I'd highly encourage you to check it out. Here's the link to the calendar. You can see other fabulous topics that they offer. (I really love this show!) Click on the 23rd and you'll see various ways to download the show.

    So you'll see...Lelia didn't make up the non-negotiable thing- It's mainstream Catholic. :)

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  21. Rebecca, I can't get around the fact that you are saying that certain human lives should not be protected under the law until social programs are in place to some mythical level of satisfaction (according to whom? That is another question).

    As for help, every parish I know (and every family I know) and every Crisis Pregnancy Center I know is willing to help a woman in a crisis pregnancy, and they do it every single day. The help is out there. There are even 800-numbers and billboards which can be used by any woman at all, to get help in whatever state or city she is in.

    Get specific with me, if you don't mind: What would the social programs look like, how would they be funded (what would they cost) and how would they be implemented to get to the point where you think it would be sufficient enough to give legal protection to the unborn? Show me how that would play out, not just theory.

    And you still are missing the major point: I don't have to "earn" my right to life, or "prove" my inherent dignity as a human being, or "wait" for my right to live until social services are adequate. Even if no social services existed on the face of the planet, and even if not one person "wanted" me, I still have a fundamental right to be and stay alive, over an above any other right that might come after that. The unborn are human beings, not "less than" you or me or the mother who carries them. Their right to stay alive is determined by the Father in Heaven who created them, and not by the circumstances of their mother's situation ("You can live but only if your mom has been able to get good social services, otherwise, you and the rest of the unborn are subject to slaughter at whim.")

    One right (the right to life) supercedes any other right, including the "right" to have an excellent social program in place. That is a teaching of the Church (i.e. Jesus Christ) that is as clear as crystal, and which has been taught again and again, explicitly, and which is a "non-negotiable."

    I guess I must just leave it at this: You have an opinion on this that is different from the Church's teaching. The Church says that the right to life is paramount, and that any law allowing abortion is an unjust law which is against God's law. Can you admit that your position (i.e., we should keep the abortion legal until some future date when conditions are better for women) is at odds with the Church's teaching?

    I am a stickler for not misrepresenting the Church... If you could just clarify for your readers that your position on this is not Catholic, but is merely your own, then I am satisfied. I just don't want anyone to be misled into thinking that your position is compatible with Catholicism.

    I hope you take that in the spirit with which it is intended. It's nothing personal at all, it's just a matter of clarity and truth.

    Thanks! :)

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  22. And oops, sorry about the WVU mix-up!! :)

    By the way, you said:

    "What we need is to ensure that the woman who would've had an abortion, KNOWS, WITHOUT A DOUBT that she and her baby are both valued, loved, and will be OK."

    Never in this fallen world will what you say be possible. It will never happen. That would be Utopia. It's almost like saying, "Let's not let anyone have children until we can be sure that there will be no suffering by either baby or parents."

    No one can guarantee, without a doubt, that anyone will "be OK" or be loved well, or be cared for sufficiently, or never suffer, etc. We live in a fallen world, a vale of tears, and everyone suffers in myriad different ways. What you are waiting for does not exist this side of Heaven, and that is why the Good News is so good! :)

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  23. Rebecca- I listened to the podcasts that I recommended and they are GREAT. I think you'll enjoy them. If you don't have time- sounds like you're a very busy girl!- then listen to the first ten minutes of part 2. It gets to the heart of your question regarding the Catholic "legality" of voting for a pro-choice candidate.

    Also, I'm with Leila in this question, "What would the social programs look like, how would they be funded (what would they cost) and how would they be implemented to get to the point where you think it would be sufficient enough to give legal protection to the unborn? Show me how that would play out, not just theory."

    It seems your assumption is that the government has to set up these programs of support. Why? What does the government do better than the private sector? There are hundreds of non-profit charities that help girls in need. Yet one of the first things Obama did when he came into office was to sign a bill reducing charitable deductions beginning in 2011. Why? I commented before regarding the free market helping ALL people- so I won't get into that again- but the point is that there is more than one way to help these moms-in-need.

    I don't understand how or why somebody pro-life could argue that abortion should be legal until...

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  24. By the way- can I just say that I LOVE your header? Gorgeous. GORGEOUS. Makes me happy.

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  25. Lauren, I will definitely listen to the podcasts, I'm all about educating myself and learning more.

    Also, I didn't think Leila was making up the non-negotiables, I believed her and understand them. And yes Leila, you are right, my opinion is not in line with Catholic Teaching (I don't think I ever said it was, but I can see how my writing it could lead someone to believe that it is Catholic Teaching).

    I know it may seem like I'm very closed minded on this issue, but I'm really not. If I felt like a we could support most women who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy today, I would be all for making abortion illegal (so long as the supports were continued).

    I am the first to admit I don't have all the answers, so maybe what I'm looking for/hoping for already exists and I just don't know about it (having never found myself in need of it).

    I guess that is the first that I would want, is that the information about the supports and resources is out there are more well known. I think it is more the conversation that occurs politically that I don't like. I'm a glass-half full, always aiming for the best scenario possible, person and I would rather see political ads and information about where a woman can go to get help than we have to overturn Roe v. Wade. As I think has already been stated somewhere in these, most politicians either don't have the power to overturn or won't attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade, it is just a campaign talking point.

    If we'd quit focusing on the law and start putting the emphasis on helping women and supporting families, I think we might just find a much more amiable political climate in which to institute a change in that very same law.

    Baby steps are important...WV (I'm 99% sure) has a law that states that a woman must see an ultrasound before she can have an abortion. This is huge, now, we need to add that after she sees that ultrasound she receives counseling (real, genuine counseling) and helpful, current information on what is available to her.

    And Leila, I hate that it's a matter of having to overturn the law and lives will be lost, but I think we have to start with those baby steps to get there or else we will always have the polar opposites. If we don't start moving toward the middle, those on each end will just continue digging in their heals and we just may find ourselves even further from where we want to be.

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  26. I didn't get a chance to read through all the comments, so forgive me for being repetitive.

    On the life issue, and on educating women to not WANT abortion as being the underlying goal (or would-be goal) of our government, I'd like to propose the analogy of domestic violence. Women find themselves in situations of domestic violence every day- it is a true plight, and while there are shelters and places for them to seek refuge, it is still a very scary and hopeless circumstance. But if murder of husbands were to be made legal in these cases, should we as a society then say that due to separation of Church and State, we need to help EDUCATE these women on how to find the help they need and deserve, and EDUCATE others on how to reach out to these women, rather than immediately overturn that law and once again make murder across the board illegal?

    The problem is, you cannot sanction the murder of one group of people because of circumstances. It doesn't work. Murder needs to be illegal, for the protection of the people.

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  27. TCIE, good point!

    Rebecca, thank you for clarifying. I just wanted you to be clear on your blog (and with yourself) that you are not in line with Catholic teaching on this. Obviously, you are still struggling and working through your faith on some levels.

    I just read an excellent commentary by Archbishop Chaput (Denver's prelate). He is young, and brilliant. Each of us should rightly hang on every word that comes out of his mouth. Please read when you have the time (after you listen to Lauren's podcasts):

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/aug/10082503.html

    The last part, about the absolute fundamental nature of the abortion issue in society, is the most pertinent part to this discussion. It is pretty firm. Let me know what you think.

    Blessings!

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  28. TCIE - I see your point, but my thought is that we are working from a standpoint in which abortion is currently legal and thus our reaction to crisis pregnancy is based on that (as a society). I feel we'd have better results and compliance/understanding if we started changing HOW we react to crisis pregnancy rather than just make abortion illegal - making it illegal could be a part of how we react, but it shouldn't be the only part.

    Leila,
    I will check out the link you provided. This week has to end sometime and after I get some much needed sleep I will go back to all of the links provided.

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  29. Just now getting back to read the comments and I'll admit that I was surprised by TCIE's because I thought she was going in the opposite direction. I think that women who have abortions are both like the abused and like the domestic partners who abuse. It *is* illegal to abuse one's spouse/girlfriend/whatever. But that does not *stop* it from happening. And it is far from following Christ to simply assert that there are safe houses where some women some place can go to so we don't need to worry about stopping abuse.

    In the same way it isn't enough to imagine that we're currently providing an environment conducive to life. We are not. I would never consider having an abortion, but when I look at what I see around me for resources... it is rather pathetic. There are some great places, but not many. And I am comparatively extremely privileged in my education and ability to get help. The problem with all of us talking about this is that it is difficult to see past what one knows is out there in order to see what other women see. I for one don't pass any "we'll help you with your baby" billboards in my low income neighborhood.

    The big problem with focusing first on outlawing abortion is that it will not *stop* it. And it is the practice, not the laws that matter most.

    Yes, the law should change. But babies are DYING while people focus on the law rather than on saving them. And that makes me more than a little sick to my stomach. It is not enough to read what the Catholic apologists say, we also have to read what the economists and sociologists say about what reduces abortion.

    So there, Rebecca. I'm guessing you weren't expecting that from me (;-)) and I realized that I should be clearer. I don't think that I agree with your post in terms of separating politics and religion, but my religion tells me that saving people is far more important than laws. And I will happily vote for any politician who I think is most likely to actually promote a culture of life rather than just take cute photos (yes, I'm looking at you George W Bush!) :-D

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  30. The US population is roughly 300 million.

    Since Roe v Wade, 50 million babies have been killed. (This is not counting chemical abortions- such as contraception.)

    That is 1/6 of our population.

    Does that put this problem in perspective?


    Also- did you know they don't regulate abortion clinics? No inspections, no regulations. I guess this could vary from state to state, but the states I know of have no rules. It's absolutely disgusting and dangerous.

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  31. I've read all these comments with much interest. Especially that last one. Lauren, it pains me when I have to admit this. But I HAVE been inside an abortion mill. It literally made me sick to my stomach and at the time I wasn't as strongly pro-life as I am now. I can't go into the details as to why I was there because that is someone else's story to tell. But I can tell you that that day put into perspective for me that the laws haven't made abortion any cleaner, safer or rare. As a matter of fact, having legal abortion has only justified people for doing evil. It has enabled pro-aborts to thumb their noses at pro-lifers. And...you'll never hear about it...but the complications from abortions are horrible - both mentally and physically. There are literally women who "bleed out" after having an abortion...NOWADAYS when it's not "a coathanger" abortion.

    Rae, I can see the point of view about how focusing only on the law can be misguided...but how about the fact that that is often the ONLY way people feel they CAN help. Many of us already volunteer (or have volunteered) and offer prayer, support of all sorts to people in crisis pregnancy situations. That completely does not mean it's not EASIER to go to the abortion mill. I think THAT is where many of us who want the procedure outlawed are coming from. Having it PROTECTED to kill innocent human beings is so ANTI-civilized...yet the Evil One has convinced so many that it means we are civilized and enlightened.

    Well, I already had my say. The topic brings me to the brink of tears often.

    God bless.

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  32. I've been following all of this too, but have had little time to formulate a 'reply comment' since i last did. I do understand a little bit more clearly about what you meant to separate politics and religion, but i guess i just don't think that its actually possible (nor should be done).

    Also, i just wanted to say, don't be afraid to post your opinions and ideas on this subject and other ones! I've been far too afraid to also post on similar topics because of what others will say, and I've realized now that if I think through it, heartily believe it and never say anything, then what's the point? At least we have a chance to discuss these things, so, thanks for writing your post even though you found it difficult and may be receiving comments you didn't want :/

    That being said, I've had this conversation with a self-proclaimed Democrat (actually, she was a voting delegate at the last presidential election) and she kept saying the same thing - that abortion is wrong but we should just focus on doing good things to help these women instead of making it illegal. I couldn't help but hear the contradiction screaming through her arguments. It just sounds like a cop out. How can you create a culture of life while saying there is nothing morally wrong with killing your baby before its born? When I hear this line of thinking I can't help but think people have already made up their minds to be Democratic and are just drinking the "abortion is ok for poor people but not for me" kool-aid. Considering the abortion issue is such a non-negotiable for many, I don't understand why the Democratic Party doesn't just drop it either, considering how many votes they'd gain! It just doesn't make sense all the way around.

    As long as abortion is legal we've accepted as a society that its a perfectly legitimate option, and I couldn't disagree more. There will always be people who will seek abortions if it is illegal just as there will always be people (like us) saying "no thanks" if it was legal. Saying that "it will happen anyway" is not a logical argument for legalizing something. I see this type of legislature as helping all of those in the middle, like 16 yr old me or that college girl that didn't know any better. I do think back to 16 yr old me, improperly formed conscience, facing what i thought was going to turn into a pregnancy. it didn't, but if I had been pregnant, who would i have had letting me know there was another option? sure as hell wouldn't have been my nation and church was way off my radar screen at that point in my life. like others have said, abortion is not a religious issue and its unfortunate (and sending the wrong message) that we're advocating just letting the churches take care of it. i do think you and rae are right when saying that legislature is enough, but you both seem to be far underestimating the power of laws as well.

    As far as advertising help in low-income areas, our Texas house is just over a mile away from what is now the largest 3rd trimester abortion center in the Western Hemisphere, conveniently located in the poorest area in Houston (right near perspective clients, of course). there are no less than 5 billboards advertising help (in multiple languages) on the main highway and streets leading up to the site, all in the low income area where the only building above 2 stories is the SEVEN STORY planned parenthood. Are those billboards going to save anyone's life? I guess we can do what we can, but really? At this point I really think the only positive thing you could say about the situation is that its "creating discussion."

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  33. All of this said, the Democratic platform is one that fails to recognize the value of life from its inception. That's just a basic value that they're way off the mark on. If they can't get that right, I have a hard time believing that other policies won't have the same utilitarian approach to humanity, now or in the future. [Not that some of them don't, just I incorporate that into my decision making when choosing what type of party I register with - which has always been "none"].

    - and yes, this was the first time i've ever reached my word limit in a comment :)

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  34. sorry, when legislature is NOT enough.

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