Abortion, American Christianity, American Politics, church, Feminism, forgiveness, grace, Kingdom Minded, religion, women's march, Women's Rights
Religion May Have Created Abortion :: And Drywall PrimerWednesday, January 25, 2017
Yesterday, I was in our upstairs that’s under construction. I was priming the drywall looking like a real-life sexy stay-at-home-mother/homeschool teacher/professional photographer/artist. My fluffy winter boots were pulled over the pajama bottoms I had slept in—a nerdy fox pattern. I had pulled on a sweatshirt with a Rosie The Riveter look-alike on it, emblazoned with the words: WE CAN DO IT! My hair was a mess. I was sweating. My hands had callouses on the palms (yeah, mock me, yo. I don’t use my hands for manual labor all that much). While the watery primer was spraying off the roller and catching in my eyelashes (free of mascara), I was swearing under my breath at the drywall for soaking it all up like a sponge. But that was the point, right?
Didn’t matter. I was angry.
But I wasn’t really angry at the drywall. Not completely, anyway. I was angry at all the comments I had been reading since the Women’s March. I was angry at the Christians who’s narrow view saw nothing in the march’s beauty but an invisible banner that read: ABORTION. It’s all they wanted to talk about and focus on.
Why do humans find it easy to point their accusatory fingers at what they define as sin without pausing to consider what role they play in its existence? How come they do not speak less about the sin and more about the measure of blame they share in the sin's existence? Why do they fail to consider this all while voting for vile men simply because of the single issue of abortion? How is that sin greater than the sexual sin of assault and abuse? How is that sin greater than hating your fellow man, or cheating on your spouse, or lying?
This does not bring healing.
This does not bring unity.
This certainly does not bring heaven to earth.
It is not kingdom-building.
I mention what it is not because these are the cool phrases tossed about religious circles. They’re pretty and beautiful and catchy and biblical. They’re tools that can be used to manipulate truth. Real truth. The truth that forces you to look at yourself in the mirror.
They’re false phrases at the moment.
It’s easy to fight for a perceived justice for the unborn. It’s valiant, actually. How heroic is it to stand up with the wind in your hair, a sword lifted high, and cry out for the lives of all those who have yet to be born? Protect them! They have a right to live! They are the most precious of creatures! They’re innocent babies, for God’s sake! Yet, it is much harder to sit down and listen and understand how we have victimized the woman who had the abortion. Why did she do it? What was her story? And how did we as a Christian society drive her to that choice? Where did we fail her?
But yet we stand and shout. We point our fingers. We accuse. We never look at ourselves.
It’s much easier to fight for the abstract—for that which does not shine light on the ugliness of our own hearts.
All of us play a part in this sordid tale where we created the “sin” of abortion. Before we can abolish it, we must first recognize our own guilt. Anything other than that is not only shallow hypocrisy, but vain lip service that will end up abolishing nothing.
But as I pour more primer into the paint pan and remind myself not to accidentally step into it (which I forgot), I wonder about when it all happened. When in history were women first placed second in the line of human importance? Has it always been this way, regardless of culture and religion? When it comes to the birth of the American Church, is it simply because the Bible tells us that woman was created second? Do we think that she was made as an after thought because man was lonely? Do we mistakenly use this flawed logic to inadvertently assign her the role of a sexual being, to not only be a helpmeet (goodness, that word lacks so much) but also to bring man pleasure and companionship? Because of this, have we left many women to think that their most treasured value is in her sexuality? Doesn’t our society show her that? Hollywood, media, the fashion magazine, the Playboys and Maxim spreads? The porn industry, the strip clubs, the beauty pageants and music lyrics? Cover up or you will make him lust! Don’t cover up too much or you’re a prude! Don’t lead him on! Don’t be too cold! Don’t be bossy! Don’t be a doormat! Don’t let a man hurt you! Don’t be a victim! But it’s your fault he abused you! You weren’t submissive!
Woman is sex.
Woman is pleasure.
Woman is beautiful.
I had to sit down in the hallway for a moment. I tucked a curl back up into my husband’s ball cap I stole to protect my hair from the paint. My heart was pounding. I didn’t know if it was because it’s kinda hard to paint a ceiling, or because my heart was overwhelmed from the emotions I was feeling.
Earlier in the day, a friend had shared her abortion story with me. It left me raw and sobbing…
I thought of my mother…
I thought of myself and how I felt after my sexual assault…
I thought of all the church meetings where young girls who were “not pure” were asked to stand up in front of hundreds and thousands in a sports arena. People reached out their hands and prayed that God would restore their virginity…
I remembered that no one asked the boys to stand up.
That’s what the church cherishes. It’s what they can control.
So when the young girl who grows up in this environment realizes everyone will see her belly swell with a child, they’ll also know she had sex. She isn’t pure anymore. Her value and beauty are gone. She is second hand goods. She is the one who let a boy sample the milk before buying the cow.
How does she tell her religious family? How does she go back to church? How does she go to school where the kids will call her a whore and make jokes behind her back?
So when she finds herself in an abortion clinic, who else took her there?
All of us as a society.
For centuries, Christianity has used shame to control others. Christianity has used shame to control women. Christianity is a big part of why abortion exists. But please note that I am blaming Christianity—religion—NOT Jesus.
So this past weekend, women marched. All over the world, women joined with one another and they believed all kinds of different things. Some were pro-life. Some were pro-choice. Some were Christians, some were atheist. Some were virgins, and some were teen mothers. But they had one thing in common….
They were second.
They were valued by their sex and their purity.
If you are pro-life, if you choose your presidential vote solely on the candidate’s views on abortion, if you cannot speak about abortion without grace and understanding, I ask you to stop speaking, sit down, and consider how your religion has played a part in it’s existence…
With my heart growing calmer, I stood up and blew a long breath of air out of my lungs. My hands were sore. My head was buzzing from the fumes. I had paint on my awesome sweatshirt and muttered at myself for not changing into an old one….
I cleaned up the brushes and dumped out the excess paint…
I poured a tall glass of water and sat down on the couch…
“No one will do that, Gia,” I thought to myself. “It’s too easy to point fingers.”
My two year old ran and jumped on my lap…
And my heart grew even sadder.
“You mad, mommy?” she asked me, putting a chubby little hand on my paint-splattered cheek.
“Yes, baby,” I said with a little smile. “But not at you.”
I nestled my face into her neck that smelled like cereal, and thought, “I hope we can one day pour out grace on those that are hurting, accept them, shelve the shame, and accept and include everyone despite what they’ve done or didn’t do.”
That brings heaven to earth.
Note: I know that the abortion debate is much more complex than what I have said here. And that's the thing, we haven't allowed ourselves to consider how complex it is. We have simply fought and debated and shamed. We owe women more than that, or we do not get to pretend we possess the love of Christ. So please, be quiet and listen to their stories.