Whether I’m a (sometimes) church-goer, Quaker-meeting attender, or semi-Buddhist meditator, I do adhere to one aspect of Protestant doctrine– my right to determine my own relationship with God, without the intercession of a priest, or the threats of damnation for dogmatic departure. Which is why this article in the Boston Globe about Arch-reactionary O’Malley got my back up, what with putting his stamp of approval on a document mailed to Catholics that says, all other issues the Democrats care about aside, voting for a pro-choice candidate endangers your soul. Issues of church and state aside for the moment, from a purely religious perspective, the church is wrong. Just wrong. I don’t believe in damnation in the afterlife– I think our own lives are hard enough, and that hell is here on earth, for people to try to choose to avoid. I don’t even know if I believe in the afterlife.
I do know I don’t believe in wasting the life you have. Telling your congregants that abortion is the only issue that matters? So– the poverty and misery in which an unwanted, and unaborted child grows up is irrelevant? The crime committed by the unwanted child, grown to violent adulthood, is irrelevant? The child’s lack of early intervention through WIC, Food Stamps, adequately funded public schools and family services, is irrelevant? The funding of a rehabilitational, rather than punitive prison system, that allows former prisoners to try to turn their lives around, be forgiven, and become contributing members to society, is irrelevant? Jesus cares more about unborn babies than about tax collectors, prostitutes, and other undesireables? That’s not what the Bible says. I’m not saying I am pro-choice to the extent of abortion as birth control. And I am not saying I’d have one, were I to become pregnant. But until the pro-lifers fund the things that make a life possible to live tolerably, if not well, then the anti-abortonist’s creed is hypocritical cant. If the Republicans were truly anti-abortion, they would fund WIC, fund an adequate early intervention system for abused children, fund the adoption system, adopt an unwanted child, make color-blind adoptions a culturally acceptable goal, and rehabilitate prisoners. But they don’t, because that’s too much big government. Funny how not wanting government in their family doesn’t keep them out of my uterus.
It makes me fume. Jesus is about, more than anything else, forgiveness. Jesus’ promise is that if you realize you’ve done wrong, and are sorry for it, then you will be forgiven. Jesus is about setting aside dogma and doctrine. “I bring to you a new covenant,” he said. The covenant is simple– “I am sorry.” If you mean it, that is enough. He’s not about taking political stances. He’s not about telling his disciples how to vote. I just hope that the Arch-bullshit gets out of his pulpit at some point, and ministers to his parishoners, rather than to politicians.