Saturday, October 4, 2008

Theological Musings: Kelli Whitman

I have spent many mornings outside The Hope Clinic at Faith Aloud’s Faithful Presence silently opposing the protesters who chose to scream at the patients who enter the clinic and me as I hold my “I’m pro-choice and I pray” sign. These mornings have often prompted musings on what it means to be a pro-choice Christian who supports reproductive justice. Here are some of those musings: Does my view on reproductive rights stand outside my convictions as a Christian? Do they have to be mutually exclusive or can my religious beliefs in fact be the reason I am pro-choice? I couldn’t do the work I do every week if I thought the two were mutually exclusive. I look at scripture and see a gracious God who created humanity to be in relationship with each other, and trusted humans with the gift of free will. I see a Jesus who taught us to remove the speck from our own eye before pointing out the log in another’s and preached a gospel of compassion and acceptance. I stand on my UCC heritage which declares that “access to safe and legal abortion is consistent with a woman’s right to follow the dictates of her own faith and beliefs in determining when and if she should have children.” I look into our church history and see Augustine’s doctrine of original sin and the way it continues to warp thinking about sex and sexuality 1600 years after he first invented it. And although these convictions help me understand the intersection of faith and social issues, I am all too aware that the protesters also stand on scripture (however out of context it may be) and tradition to point out all the reasons I will burn in hell someday. Does one of us have to be wrong? Can we both be right? Does it matter? And if it doesn’t matter, why do I get up once a month to stare down 80 hateful faces and risk my own personal safety to say it does?