Isn’t It Ironic?

So today I came across an interesting comment which read:

Isn’t it ironic how Christians/Catholics are “pro-life” in the sense that life is important to them, but if that life happens to be gay, like me, it’s suddently worthless. So you’ll fight for fetuses but applaud Russian men who beat homosexuals?

This certainly reeks of a bad experience with the Church and I actually feel compassion for this guy because while he may be believing a lie it doesn’t mean the lie doesn’t give him genuine sadness. And in light of that revelation it bothers me that I get accused of hating things all the time, whether directly or indirectly, not based on my actions but as a “natural” result of my beliefs.

I would not deny being pro-life after writing so many pieces about the topic but I reject the notion that because I believe in something I must by default hate everything else that is not that something. This is an absolutely baseless assumption because the nature of choice implies exclusion. By choosing to wear my cute gray sweater from Kohls to work today I rejected every other top in my closet not because I’m anti t-shirt or against my navy blue sweaters or because I hate cardigans (I love them), but because I had to pick a top for work today and this one is pretty, weather appropriate, and convenient as I had a limited window to make my choice since I overslept.

But there are more important choices in this world than which top to wear and when it comes to religion I’m never sure whether I chose Catholicism (I did) or it chose me (also true). But to be Catholic is to believe it’s teaching to be the truth revealed to man through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And I do. Call it mindless submission to authority if you like, but it is my free choice to be Catholic and that decision binds me to its teaching because if I profess it as my faith but don’t believe or practice its teachings then I am a hypocrite.

And with Catholicism, it is often explained to me that because I follow Church teaching which upholds traditional marriage I automatically hate all gay people. False. That because I follow Church teachings on chastity I’m a prude who looks down on everyone and has “unrealistic” expectations about life and men. False (and rather jaded). And that because I follow Church teaching on contraception I’m against women’s rights. Also false. The list goes on. I’m thinking you get the idea. The ironic part is those I have argued with and who bring such claims forward are using their own bias to condemn my perceived bias and demanding I apologize for their incorrect perceptions.

I can tell you I’m not against the individuals of the LGBT community, women, etc. but I have no control as to whether or not you believe it. I would hope my words and actions demonstrate as much to you but that’s the tricky part about bias, if people are looking to hate or denounce you they can certainly find a way and once the claim is out there our shallow world cares very little about whether or not it’s actually true so long as it fits the narrative of Christians as bigoted, oppressive, ignorant etc. And to use such a narrative to justify hating me because of my religion, to use that ill will as the basis for assuming that I would do something so callous as to cheer one man beating another solely because of his sexual preference is perhaps the most ironic of all because in that moment this anonymous man becomes the very type of person he is condemning, one who chooses to hate others based on nothing but their life choices.

And that is an irony of the worst kind.

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Three Kids was Enough

Today I’d like to thank Cecile Richards, the CEO of Planned Parenthood, for inspiring the title of this post. I recently read an article where she defends her and her husband’s choice to end the life of her fourth child in the hopes of reversing the stigma of abortion.

It truly bothers me, how she claims that it was an easy decision, as casual as deciding where to go for breakfast in the morning. Ultimately she and her husband reasoned that their family was big enough with three children and they didn’t want it to be any bigger, therefore they had the right to end the life of their unborn child. While abortion advocates always insist that an abortion is merely a medical procedure (as insignificant as getting your wisdom teeth pulled) I can’t believe that among rational, educated people it is accepted that intentionally stopping the heartbeat of another person is not murder, but good medical practice and a fundamental resource for female contraception.

Because it’s just like the situation from Girl Please where arguments are expected to stand in one instance, but not in another and no one blinks twice at the hypocrisy. If Cecile Richards “aborted” her 4-year-old child with surgical instruments on the same logical grounds that her family was already large enough, she would be rotting in jail for murder. But since presumably she had the “procedure” before her “fetus” reached the subjective legal deadline that qualifies you as a human baby these days, she faces no legal repercussions for actions. It’s brilliant actually.  Her child was legally deprived of his or her basic human rights by being disqualified as a human. That is the logic and reasoning echoed in infamously lethal ideologies such as Nazism and racism.  And of course, let’s not forget the eugenics that inspired Planned Parenthood in the first place manifested in the desire to grant the right to life on a selective basis only.

What makes it especially clever is the subtlety, how it shifts the focus from the desired elimination by clouding the death, or “outcome” (let’s not use the strong language of truth as we might offend someone) as deserved, convenient, or justifiable because the target was determined less than human by those in power.  And with the ensuing societal acceptance wrapped up in pretty legalize and medical terminology, Ms. Richards is free to spend her days perpetuating a woman’s “right” to deny rights to others deemed less worthy of those rights in the eyes of the law. Even though this is branded as the height of progressive modernity, it sounds a lot like oppression to me.

However, there is one thing Cecile Richards and I agree on, her words that:

“when politicians argue and shout about abortion, they’re talking about me — and millions of other women around the country.”

Yes, yes they are, and that conversation should include all women. Those politicians and pro-choice media personalities don’t simply get to silence my dissent by dismissing myself and the women in my family as “ignorant” and “Christian.” But I imagine they would certainly try because we would be Cecile Richard’s nightmare if this theoretical conversation was actually inclusive because the populace would risk hearing the tale of my mother who made the opposite choice of Cecile when she found out she was pregnant with her fourth child and my youngest brother.

Yes, in the year 2000 when I was just shy of turning ten years old I found out my parents were expecting another child. Although my parents welcomed the idea of having a baby, my mother, as I found out later, was justifiably terrified. Not only was she thirty-eight, but she had already had two bouts of thyroid cancer and was worried the chemicals from chemotherapy alone could result in serious deformities. Doctors suggested abortion as an option, but my mom really does believe in life, and believed that my brother was my brother at the moment of his conception and that there was a purpose to his life. So she decided to just trust beyond the fear and press forward.

When my brother was born we did discover that he had apraxia, which is a learning disability where (and I’m oversimplifying a bit but this is my understanding of it) the brain knows what it wants to say but has trouble communicating it. Doctors were worried that he would never be able to read. However, with the help of some amazing intervention specialists, he left kindergarten above grade level and has been at or above grade level ever since. No stranger to adversity, at age ten he was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, Type 1. He takes insulin shots with every meal. It is discouraging sometimes because he’s a sweet young man and he was more mature about it then I would have been in his shoes. Yet day in and day out he’s my little brother. He’s in the marching band, he loves Star Wars, and he hates social media so I’m going to stop before I give away too many personal details and he gets mad at me. I lucked out with him because he’s absolutely fantastic and we are very close, to the point where I couldn’t imagine my life without him and I certainly wouldn’t want to. I am so grateful to my mother for saying yes to life and being open to the possibility that maybe three kids wasn’t enough, because she has given me and my youngest brother a chance to know and love one another in this life, a chance that Cecile Richards’ three children will never have with their youngest brother (or sister). And that is the reality that gets left out of the conversation, the part that nobody wants to talk about.

I tell you this not to oversimplify the situation or instantly convert you to the pro-life cause. I’m telling you this because the quality of a life cannot be measured by any human intellect. It so far surpasses our expectations, predictions, and understandings, and any attempt to determine a standard for what constitutes a quality life is a dangerous and deadly game that we have no right to play. Even though I have told you parts of my family’s tale, none of us have any right to comment on my mother’s decision or debate whether or not my brother’s life was “worth it” (a disgusting endeavor but one that our cold and calculating culture of death permits), not even my mother herself. Because while she carried my brother and has cared for him in every way, she did not create his life, it was only entrusted to her and my father. And that responsibility, while overwhelming and frightening at times by its sheer magnitude, is never something we should shrink from if we hope to retain our humanity.

Life is a gift and it is anything but standard, and I hate the frightening consensus that life only counts as quality if it’s sanctioned by the parents, privileged, pain-free and perpetually satisfying. We create such a phony ideal through the media that we too quickly forget that life is intrinsically valuable and infinitely worthwhile. We’ve been so trained to live only for earth and create a legacy in the shifting sands of time (a futile effort at best) that we forget our heavenly significance, the destiny our Father had planned for us the moment He first breathed life into veins. Because not only were we made to live, we were made to live forever.

Don’t ever give up on that promise.

One Scandalous Silent Night

So in case you haven’t heard the show Scandal had an episode featuring the main character Olivia something or other (obviously not a viewer) getting an abortion to the tune of Silent Night.

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It’s an interesting world we live in because why would I be bothered by a show I don’t watch covertly using a religious Christmas song to promote abortion in light of the heated debates surrounding Planned Parenthood? I mean if I don’t watch it, it obviously doesn’t affect me directly and why should I care if the character chose to have an abortion? She has her fake life to live and I have my real life to live so why can’t I just peacefully go back to eating my Chick-fil-a and not drinking Starbucks? (Couldn’t resist peppering this post with more stereotypes, it’s quite vogue these days. Although Chick-fil-a is delicious.)

Well it bothers me because the juxtaposition of an abortion, an act that ends the heartbeat of a human baby who been deprived of his human rights because he or she has not reached 24 weeks of age (the qualifier of being considered human in the eyes of the law), with the religious song that celebrates the eternal God taking on the form of a man in the ultimate act of love and humility is an abomination. It was intended to insult and provoke.

It is disrespectful and in poor taste, not to mention intensely hypocritical because imagine what would happen if they insulted the #ConcernedStudent1950 movement sweeping college campuses or flagrantly mocked the Muslim or Jewish faith. Seriously, take a moment and think about what would happen, the waves of protest that would ensue.

But it’s okay to insult me and my religion because I’m just a Catholic which automatically places me under the banner of ignorant Christian and in the secular movement that is the new atheism it is completely acceptable to insult me and my religion. I am as dispensable as a less-than-human fetus in their eyes because I also am an unwanted member of society. The producers, writers, editors, actors and all who worked towards making that episode wanted to hurt me. And if I come forth with my hurt it will not receive the same treatment as any of the movements or religions mentioned above, they will not apologize or claim their intentions were innocent or say it was a misunderstanding, and no one will have to resign from any position. Because backlash is precisely what they wanted. They wanted to insult my religion because they hate my religion and the opposition it represents to their new agenda.

And I honestly think they are looking forward to having Christians come forth with their outrage so that they can belittle us even further, calling us paranoid, ignorant, and behind the times. Continuing to treat us as if we were an annoying family member at Thanksgiving that they have to tolerate because it would be too rude to come right out and say, “no one wanted you to come.” Because that is a problem in a world without Christian morals, the code of acceptable actions is simply determined by what other progressive people would think about you if those actions came to light. (Note not all people, just the progressive ones who subscribe to the same progressive channels you do.) That’s why an abomination portraying doctors performing an abortion to Silent Night roughly a month before Christmas (which, believe it or not, is an extremely significant religious holiday for Christians everywhere that is in fact sacred– I linked to the definition for clarification purposes just in case) is absolutely fine and anyone who thinks otherwise is clearly overreacting.

And that is what bothers me. I’ve read so many articles about other people’s pain in the news. And reading the particular article discussing the abortion to the tune of Silent Night pained me not just because of what it represented, but because it was intended to offend me and demonstrated a total disregard as to whether or not it offended my God. It was a slap in the face to Him and his followers and, instead of opting to respect other people’s God’s as a sign of respect for them even if one is a non-believer, they reveled in the act with a rebellious glee that only comes from hatred. And that makes me sad on so many levels.

Because people don’t understand that I’m not just offended on a moral level, I’m offended because I love God. And many people don’t understand that when I say I love God I don’t mean in some sugary sweet, extremely peppy, camp-counselor way. I mean it in the same context as when I say I love my mother, or father, or best friend, or any significant relationship because it is the most significant relationship I have in my life, judge if you want to. And by the same token when you insult my God it hurts me as much as if you had insulted my mother, or father, or best friend, or any significant relationship.

And no one cares. And not only do they not care, they don’t even care enough to keep up the pretense that they care. And society finds this attitude completely okay, it is entirely socially acceptable to not care about people if they are not like you, to want them scourged from society because they are inconvenient and/or a nuisance. At its core it is utterly selfish and that is frightening to me because selfishness and pride are like a cancer to the soul and I see the symptoms of it everywhere, even in myself sometimes. Except when I see it in myself I do my best to fight it with everything I have, whereas society seems to prefer making it trendy and justifiable- even packaged as something that you deserve because you’ve managed to become so sophisticated and urbane and why can’t everybody else just get on your level?

It leaves me shaking my head because I know God loves still loves humanity, but I worry that we have so given in to our selfish human nature that by the time He comes back there won’t be any humanity left in us.