10/28/2016 01:18 pm ET Updated Oct 29, 2017

Why I Am Christian And Pro-Choice

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I am pro-autonomy. I am pro-independence. I am pro-choice. I am also of the opinion that my religion -- or anyone's religion-- has no place in the affairs of other people. I don't like Christ being used as a political cudgel, but here we are, in 2016, talking about the very personal decisions women make, and so, I feel compelled to write this.

I realize some of you, my friends, have incredibly strong opinions on life beginning at conception. I respect that this, in part, comes from a place of empathy.

My disconnect with the "pro-life" message, aside from the obvious autonomy issue, is that very rarely have I seen my pro-life friends argue as passionately for children's healthcare or universal healthcare or refugees or against the death penalty or poverty or for mental health advocacy or homeless advocacy or for VA reform, etc.

My religion -- or anyone's religion -- has no place in the affairs of other people.

And by passionately, I mean posting on social media with righteous anger, protesting on the steps of the Supreme Court, burning up the pulpit in Church, literally marching in the streets.
I'm sure there is a genuine and grave concern over "the unborn," but I feel what truly separates this issue from all other matters of life and death -- what provokes such ire -- is an implicit, religious need to control and shame women's sexuality.

There is a profound cognitive dissonance among those who claim to defend "the unborn."

That's hard to accept. I know. I have some intelligent friends who claim to respect women, and in their minds, they probably think this is all about "the unborn," but there is an undeniable theme of so-called irresponsibility and selfishness and "promiscuity" on the part of women that is framed, packaged and touted by the pro-life movement.

It isn't just inaccurate. It isn't just insulting and degrading. It is absolutely deadly to women. It is an attack on them and their families, folks who have to make hard choices and should never be shamed for doing so.

You claim Christ is a champion of "the unborn." You claim God's law supersedes that of humankind.

Putting aside for a second that 1) your religious preference shouldn't dictate others' choices and 2) that Christ trusted women, there is a glaring hypocrisy in this line of thinking.

Show me in your Bible where it talks about poverty when you say government shouldn't create social safety nets.

Show me in your Bible where it talks about the Good Samaritan when you make a decision to walk past the homeless or say that your tax dollars shouldn't go to pay for someone else's healthcare or claim that "illegal immigrants" should go back to their own country.

Show me in your Bible where it talks about judgement while you claim to fully understand and dictate the very personal decisions of women and families.

Show me in your Bible where it talks about turning the other cheek while you claim that "civilian collateral damage" is necessary to the security of a free state, whether it be drone warfare or unfettered access to firearms?

You say your heart is full of Christ's love, but why does that only manifest itself on this particular issue and no others?

Show me in your Bible where it talks about judgement while you claim to fully understand and dictate the very personal decisions of women and families.

I would press on "why," but I know the answer. Women are such an easy target to project our self-righteousness. They always have been.

Eating women alive is a time-honored tradition in our society. What they do with their bodies is only a minor step up on what clothes they wear, the inflection and tone of their voices, the sexual violence inflicted on them, their choice of profession, their marital status, how and why and when and where they have sex, etc.

I am a white Christian from Texas who has lived life in a male body. I should be incredibly easy to convince that abortion is wrong and should be a top priority of lawmakers, and yet, I remain unmoved.

If you are willing to die on this hill top over the "unborn," you will not convince me until you adequately address these underlying issues, until you establish a firm, consistent philosophy on the sanctity of life that addresses the above, until you can tell me, on every issue, whether the Bible or the Constitution has greater authority.

When you can do that, you will have my support, but I don't believe it's possible. The bounds of logic are too great a burden to bear on this matter.

Exercise empathy, live out the whole Bible, and then -- and only then -- can we talk about what women do with their bodies.

Charles Clymer is an Army Veteran and writer based out of Washington, D.C., where they live with their girlfriend and two cats. They proudly identify as genderqueer or gender-nonconforming and prefer the pronouns they/them. They have been published in several places and quoted by Time, Newsweek, BBC World Service, The Guardian, and numerous other publications. You can follow them on Twitter here and on Facebook here.

A version of this post originally appeared on Medium.