June 2, 2009

Can't Christians Turn the Other Cheek?

Yesterday, the New York Times published an editorial on the murder of Dr. George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a target because of his willingness to perform to perform late-term abortions. He often helped women who otherwise would have had to carry pregnancies to term that would have threatened their life, health, or fertility, or whose fetuses were suffering from severe, unsurvivable birth defects. One of these conditions is anencephaly, which directly translates as "lack of a brain," but often also means a missing skull and scalp and exposed brain tissue. Perhaps abortion rights supporters should start waving horrific photos of stillborn fetuses at the antichoice protesters. I can't imagine forcing anyone to put their life on hold for months waiting for a miscarriage or to deliver a dead child. Where is the compassion?

My clearest insight into the mindset of antichoice zealots came on the steps of the United States Supreme Court in October 2001. I was minding my own business, looking at a map, when I noticed a man with a sandwich board that read "9/11 is God's punishment for abortion." This is crazy thing to say at any time, but a mere three weeks after the attacks, it was outrageous. I rolled my eyes and tried to ignore him. But he walked up to me, and this was his opening gambit: Are you a baby killer?

I thought to myself, "Oh, man, have you picked the wrong woman to argue with." I replied, "No, I have never had an abortion, but I am adopted, so I don't think I'm necessarily entitled to existence." A child cannot grow to maturity on its own; someone has to nurture it. I then asked him, "So, how many unwanted children have you adopted?" He replied, "Oh, well, that's their job." I frowned, puzzled. "Whose job?" I asked. "They," he replied.

Despite my repeated questions, the man was unable to tell me just who this mysterious "they" were, exactly. He had the time and energy to stand around all day with a hand-made sandwich board, but no time at all for the children he supposedly cared so much about. It leads me to conclude that it's all about self-righteousness for such people, not about actually improving life for anyone. According to the book "Freakonomics," there has been direct correlation between legalizing or, in the case of Romania, criminalizing abortion, and a sharp reduction or increase in crime 18-20 years later. It shows that as far as predicting criminality, there is little more certain than being an unwanted child. All I can say is that if you oppose abortion, then don't have one, and adopt as many abandoned kids as you can. But if you don't put your money where your mouth is, I have little respect for your position.

I also wonder when we have ever heard of a prison warden, guard, or doctor being shot at, much less murdered because they were responsible for executing a prisoner? Plenty of liberals feel that capital punishment is murder, and deplore the system that convicts and executes people who are often innocent, but none of them are contradicting themselves by murdering the murderers. If you are truly pro-life, you don’t murder anyone, ever, period. Jesus said “love your enemies" and "turn the other cheek,” not “get out your weapons.”

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