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Life Arts    H2'ed 7/7/11

Abortion: Sacred Sanity and a Long Journey

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And
I have found other ways to express my maternal instincts. I teach
horseback riding to handicapped children, and abled children, and watch
them blossom as students and loved beings. I am a better teacher than
most of my former teachers, having stronger abilities to both motivate
and praise, making corrections in a positive and not demeaning way. In
the vulnerability and beauty of my handicapped students, I see that I
was not responsible for my own abuse, and that in a sane person,
vulnerability invites protectiveness, not persecution.

Now
I am beginning to believe that the termination of my one pregnancy is
spiritually outweighed by the gift I am passing on to so many children,
coupled with my long-overdue self-acceptance.

Who
could have predicted these redemptions? Who but The Creator is truly
equipped to judge the value of one person's love, and the growth of that
love amidst inconceivable pressures, obstacles and mistakes?


Theological Reflections

Let us begin with acknowledging the common bases of the three Abrahamist faiths -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The
Jewish prophet Micah believed that all of the Jewish faith could be
summarized as "doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly before
God".

Jesus believed in mercy as the center of justice: "A brother should be forgiven seven times seventy."

In
Islam, the central prayer liturgy, repeated five times a day, begins
with, "In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful..."

The
common intent of the prophets of each derivation of the Abrahamist
faith, which acknowledges a single Creator whose most prominent aspect
is mercy, is clearly this: specific situations in a mysteriously
evolving world must be confronted with the first Abrahamist generality,
which is mercy. Justice, an expression of state power or the will of a
partly-informed, sometimes hateful human group, is not as important a
virtue or spiritual objective.

What
can this mean in a world when a pregnancy considered by the mother to
be an impossible burden occurs in a world where population exceeds food,
water and other resources necessary for survival, or at least the
political will to share those resources? What does this mean where there
has been no renunciation of violence in the exercise of state power,
and I am speaking directly of the United States under George Bush II and
John Ashcroft, a country where one recently elected senator, Tom Coburn
of Oklahoma, believes in the death penalty for doctors who perform
abortions?

To what deity do all the angry parties claim fealty? Is it the same as
the
deity known as Yahweh, Allah, God? This god is said in Genesis, first
text of Abrahamism, to have created the human being in his own image.
Presumably, that includes the ability to reason as well as procreate,
and the ability to unselfishly decide that under particular conditions a
pregnancy brought to term would be torture for fetus, mother and
society. Does that mean abortion is always, as Bush and company seem to
believe (prove me wrong, please), a rude and unholy intervention in the
will of The Creator to make images of himself? Does Bush and company's
interpretation of God portray a deity without knowledge of too many
people starving for too little food, shelter, protection, love, who will
use vulnerable human beings to narcissistically replicate himself?
Whose image is really portrayed in their interpretation?

Or
is God the ultimate ethicist, who can mercifully know when it is unsafe
and cruel to force a pregnancy either by theological or any other form
of coercion, and wishes us to mirror His mercy?

Where
and what and who is the ultimate source of divine identity?
Justifications for everything from feeding hungry children to raping
vulnerable women can be found in the same texts because of words
ascribed to this deity and His prophets with no truly verifiable
accuracy.
Amid
this confusion, when we confront the question of ending a potential
human life, where do we turn for enough certainty to either make the
decision ourselves or be a friend to the person who must make this
ultimate decision?

Any
implication of destruction is terrifying in this current climate, for
destruction seems to overwhelm us when we look outward. It is now
possible to end the human race with one atomic blow, or the release of
contaminants of other kinds. It is also possible, even common, for
individuals to justify violence of all kinds, from sexual selfishness to
murder, via corporate media images which inform, seduce, excite many
more people faster than the anonymous authors or recorders of the
prophetic texts could have begun to imagine. The results we know: we
have been cowering under the threat of global annihilation since 1945.
And our corporate-supported sexual profligacy, certainly in the United
States, has engendered a huge divorce rate; sexually transmitted
diseases compromising physical and psychological potency and fertility;
children lacking time with parents and bringing their loneliness and
anger into communities lacking what only parents can give. And the
ultimate result is a destruction of the spirit,  disillusionment with
even the hope of love.

Amid
this wilderness, individual women can prevent conception, even abort
conception... if they have access to the kind of medical care which
offers such choices. Many do not. And women who do are considered, by
vocal reactionaries, more terrifying and evil than those who drop bombs
or behead helpless hostages at a time when, frequently without a loving
partner or any other kind of support, these women are striving for a
responsible and ethical choice.

What
is the place of God in a world like this, and what can theology
(theories of God) say about abortion and our present political
condition, which pursues war abroad and stigmatization of emerging
rights for women, gays and Lesbians, the handicapped at home? At worst,
our condition may verge on the destruction of our Constitution's
freedoms and of citizens whose beliefs are objectionable to religious
fanatics.

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Kari Ann Owen Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I am a produced playwright,published essayist and doctoral level scholar in religion and literature, living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am also the widow of Silas S. Warner, creator of the original "Castle Wolfenstein".
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