Faith Column: Abortion not anti-Christian
I hate abortion.
That’s probably how everyone expects a Christian column regarding this divisive issue to begin. It is simply not that simple.
In fact, I firmly believe having access to safe and affordable abortions is critical for the empowerment of women all over the world. That’s more than obvious to me, a majority of feminist scholars and people who see social issues as more than black-and-white.
The reason I despise abortion is because of its uncanny ability to make Christians look like the most illogical, cold-hearted and misogynistic group of people in the world.
One only needs to examine the recent referendum in Mississippi to be reminded of that. For those who didn’t follow it, Amendment 26 was an attempt by the “personhood movement” to undermine legalized abortion by changing the definition of a person.
If the vote on Nov. 8 had succeeded, which it thankfully did not, it would have altered the legal definition of a person so life would begin at conception. Abortion of all forms would be banned as a result. Most contraception likely would have followed suit.
For those unfamiliar with the demographics of Mississippi, which I wouldn’t blame you for, this might not seem relevant; but there are a lot of religious folk — mostly evangelical Protestants — in the region. In fact, the Pew Research Center declared Mississippi as the most religious state in the country in 2009.
Some of these Christians down there convinced themselves, and subsequently their governor, that criminalizing abortion would be the key to fulfilling Christ’s will on Earth and hopefully winning a gold star in heaven. There are dozens of theological reasons why they believe this and it’s certainly not as simple as I’m making it out to be. Unfortunately, there’s not enough space on this page to even begin dissecting their theories.
The point is ultimately that their religious convictions pushed them to try to change the law.
On the day of the vote, The Guardian’s Ashley Sayeau reported: “If this law is passed, a woman who miscarries could have to undergo a criminal investigation to ensure the miscarriage was not her fault. Someone needs to tell Republicans, that’s not love under anyone’s definition.”
No kidding. Not only is that not love, but it’s illogical, cold-hearted and misogynistic.
I’m going to quickly tell two stories about two friends of mine.
One lives in Hawaii. She’s in her late teens, is an excellent photographer and subscribes to what I believe to be quite a fundamentalist understanding of Christianity. She and her friends cover their mouths with red tape and protest outside Planned Parenthood centres carrying signs with messages such as “I survived Roe vs. Wade” and “Your mother chose life” written on them.
The other lives in Calgary. She’s in her mid-20s, is dating an ex-homeless man and is an assistant manager at a Christian coffee shop in Kensington. One day, she found out a girl who comes by the shop was choosing to abort her baby. Instead of protesting with signs, or reading Bible verses at her, my friend drove the girl to the abortion clinic and sat in the waiting room until she was ready to leave.
Today’s trendy Christians sometimes ask, “What Would Jesus Do?” Well, that’s a good question. If the Jesus I’ve heard about is true, he showed love, compassion and grace to those suffering from the oppression of poor logic, cold-heartedness and misogyny.
I think my second friend had the right idea.