"It is a wise man who advocates non-violence to his enemies."
I wasn't the only one to get tired, fighting after Roe, to keep the (Ir)Religious Right from chipping away at our freedom. I had debated just one too many fanatical foes. I couldn't stand the screaming, the insults, the veiled threats that if I didn't come to their Jesus, that I or those I loved would be hurt. The discourtesies of the debate, the phone calls and letters at home, the picketing of my church all wore me down. Bluntly, the irreligious right fights dirty. Non-violence is what I tried to practice; they did not. The punishmentalists wore me out as well as down, and I realized that "civil discourse," was no longer possible. Perhaps it is never possible with people who think they are "RIGHT." Now that I am less exhausted, and more angry, and more convicted, I am ready to fight again, this time with more of a sense of the right for me and my kind of Christian. I gave tolerance too much credit, a mistake that people like me love to make.
My theology changed in this time of lost spirit, cuddled and coddled by the falsely applied virtue of tolerance. I realized that I was right about the right to choose. I realized that I was right in the name of Jesus. I realized that I was right in the names of biology and evolution and population control. I realized that I was right as a woman, coming out of a long and ancient and biblically sanctioned time when women were not considered fully human. By the power of the Holy Spirit's ongoing interpretation of scripture, through the God who is Still Speaking, and through the Living Word of God, we now see women as fully human, not as the ancillaries of the true humans, the men. This truth was so big, so historically radical, that it took a while to seep in. Now that it is in, I don't have to fear rude interruptions in debates so much. I can interrupt the debate myself. I don't have to go all the way to moralistic but I sure can use the word moral.
Like many, I took a long breather from the movement, focused on other things, kept my membership active in the religious and secular left. I tried to become more strategic, more focused. I did not anticipate that clinics would be closed, one after another, or that Texas would become absurd in abortion legislation. I didn't understand that Dr. Tiller would be killed and now I can not only know but also realize that he is dead. I forgot the larger truth, that as women emerge as full humans, we are pivotal to all the "issues" and to the saving of the sanity of the planet, if not the planet itself.
There is a new fierceness in the women's movement right now. It takes morning-after pills off the back shelf, by hand, in drug stores, in growing numbers of drug stores, and puts them on the front shelves. It insists that birth control be paid for by insurance companies. It is not an afterthought for women any more but a forethought. We have to stop letting them get away with murder, by which I mean the risks associated with unwanted or medically non-viable pregnancies as well as the cruel death of the spirit as well as the killing of the living Word of God. We are not the murderers, which we have been called, in what can only be called an Orwellian twistedness. The devil is downright sneaky.
I support and will attend the July/August Freedom's Ride to Wichita and North Dakota and Texas because I believe I am right about abortion, as a Christian, as a clergy person, as a woman,and as a woman who has had an abortion and believes I made the right decision. (See my Letter to the New York Times, Thursday, July 11, 2013.)
I do so as part of the great battle my tradition is engaging. The religious right would stifle the Holy Spirit and new interpretations of scripture that say women are people. That is the larger fight, and I have no intention of allowing them victory in it. God is still speaking and the living word of God cannot be stifled, by those afraid of the beauty and power of women.
For more information on the freedom ride.