Sunday, April 02, 2006

Where are MY bumper stickers?

It’s disconcerting to be invisible.
Anyone listening to the rhetoric coming from the right in our very polarized nation might reasonably conclude that people like me don’t exist.
I’m pro-choice because I’m pro-life.
I oppose the war in Iraq because I support our troops.
I support same-sex marriages because I’m a Christian.
I’m a liberal because I’m a Christian.
Let’s start with abortion.
I am pro-choice because I know what happens when abortion is illegal. Women and girls die. I witnessed it personally in the 1960s in high school in West Texas when friends and acquaintances of mine went to Mexico for abortions and came home maimed or dead.
I am pro-choice because of my Christian faith, not in spite of it. Regardless of what the Roman Catholic Church of my birth says, the Bible does not condemn abortion. As my friend the Rev. Katherine Ragsdale says, “Let me look, with you, at what the Bible actually says about abortion.”
Pause.
“OK, we’re done.”
She points out that the Bible does not address abortion and indeed, does not address human gestation at all. Anti-choice folks love to quote verse 12 of Psalm 139 -- “For you yourself created my inmost parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” – as proof that God is anti-choice. They never quote verse 14 of the same Psalm that says, “My body was not hidden from you, while was being made in secret and woven in the depths of the earth,” which would seem to indicate we are grown like potatoes.
Psalms are not medical texts. They are poetic songs of awe and wonder about God.
I want abortion to be legal, safe and rare, so I vote for pro-choice candidates. I also work for good sex education; good pre-and-post natal care for all women, affordable day care and family friendly workplace policies.
The War in Iraq
I oppose the war in Iraq because the lives of the men and women in our armed services are much too precious to be placed in harm’s way unless there is a very real threat to our nation. Such an argument could be made for going into Afghanistan after Osama bin Laden.
Iraq is a very different matter. Contrary to what our leaders told us, there were no direct ties between Saddam and 9/11, no weapons of mass destruction, and the UN inspections were working. In no way does it meet the criteria for a “just war.”
It was not waged as a last resort, it was not waged to redress a wrong suffered by the US, we have not established peace since we “won,” and we apparently do not have any idea how many civilian casualties we have caused. Now the most optimistic reports put Iraq “on the brink” of civil war while others say it’s already mired in it.
Our troops were sent into Iraq undermanned, undersupplied and with leaders who had not been given any clear plan for what was to happen after we “won.”
So, yes, I support our troops. I support them by voting for political leaders who are working on ways to salvage the situation in Iraq so we can get them out of there sooner than the 18 to 20 years predicted by Senator John McCain. I support them by voting for politicians who will not cut veterans’ health care or education benefits.
And I wonder why, three years after 9/11, Osama is still free.
Same sex Marriage
I support gay marriage because I am a Christian. People are coming to our states saying, “We want to be in a lifelong committed monogamous union” and we’re saying “No.” They are coming to our churches asking for the blessing of their unions and most are saying “no.” We bless dogs and cats, we bless houses, we bless boats, but we can’t bless two people seeking to be in a lifelong monogamous union? What kind of sense does that make?
Jesus of Nazareth never mentions homosexuality in the Gospels, but he speaks often of the importance of truth, honesty and integrity of a person’s life. He has much to say about those who judge others while ignoring their own sins.
Yes, Paul clearly condemns homosexuality in his letter to the Romans (Romans 1:26-27). But many theologians believe he is not speaking of homosexuality as we understand it today. Paul also urges the acceptance of slavery and expects women to take a secondary role in the church and in society. Yet we condemn slavery and our society and most churches do not model the discrimination against women demonstrated in Paul's letters. Why, then, must we accept Paul’s First Century understanding of homosexuality as critical to Christian morality?
In Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 in the Hebrew Scriptures, there are prohibitions of male
homosexuality. It is part of a “holiness code” and what Scripture says about holiness always is filtered through the customs and norms of a particular time and place. The prohibition and penalty for male homosexuality occupies a very small place in this Levitical code. Why lift out this prohibition and ignore the rest of it? Christians blithely eat cheeseburgers and wear blended fabrics, things also forbidden in Leviticus, yet we do not condemn this.
Liberalism
I am a liberal because I am a Christian. I take seriously the marching orders Jesus gave us in Matthew’s Gospel. We are to love God with our whole heart, our whole soul and our whole mind. That last part often gets forgotten.
We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. This means not just the neighbors we like or the neighbors who look and think like us, but all our neighbors. We are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, and visit the sick and imprisoned.
My experience has been that it is the leaders who are derided as “liberal” who most often support policies that accomplish these things.
Yes, people like me do exist, even in Texas. And we vote.

1 comment:

ACM said...

Katie,

Thanks for articulating so beautifully what so many of us out here feel and believe. Can we hope that in finding this blog, we'll be lucky enough to hear more from you?