This was previously posted on another one of my blogs the day after the murder of George Tiller. Until we are able to look at the larger forces at work here we will never resolve the issues of abortion, euthanasia and other failures of our society to protect the rights of the most vulnerable. Finally, the largest elephant in the room begs discussion: Does a woman have the right to determine what happens to her body? Are we willing to commit the female gender to status as a second class citizen? Without any attempt to deal with this and the other issues discussed in this post we are fooling ourselves as to our effectiveness as human rights advocates no matter what side of the fence we sit on.
Well, it's been one heckava week so far, and we're only to Tuesday. The week broke open like a dam bursting: as if all the pain, hate and violence over the abortion controversy that the dam of polite society had held back couldn't withstand the pressure; finally breaking free to flood our consciences with the dirty swill that is our political reality.
The murder of George Tiller by an act of domestic terrorism has sparked a firestorm of outrage on both sides of the issue. Some have, if not defended the murder, at least condoned it as an act of Divine Justice. The others on the Pro-Choice side have concluded this to be some sort of beginning of a Christian FundamentalistJihad. Most of us in the middle however, were left stunned, speechless. That so blatant an act of murder was carried out in the defense of the unborn somehow defied all logic, and to take place in a church, no less. Take life to save life? What is wrong with this picture?
The problem of abortion cannot be effectively handled with violence, protests or laws. The misfortune of abortion is symptomatic of a self-centered culture that puts physical pleasure and personal fulfillment above all else; anything that hinders or delays these goals is to be avoided at all costs. The "Culture of Death" is our very own. It is a culture that sexualizes violence and it's children. It pushes off personal responsibility, and reduces the human sex act into something of arbitrary self experience. It is a culture that picks and chooses among which things are worthy of special deference, and which some, sadly are not. These things aren't done through laws or policies. We are indoctrinated through our appetites. Through our insatiable need to postpone boredom and to experience pleasure. The media, especially advertising picks up on this restlessness and capitalizes on it. Think of the last fast food or blue jeans commercial you saw. It is right before our very eyes. All day. Every day. It is not the next Democrat or next Republican who has control of the issue, for both Parties push policies that are selective in their adherence to the issue of the inviolability of life.
No, the eternal truth of the sanctity of life and the inherent dignity of the human must be fully grasped by us. If we truly believe this concept, then the immensity of it's implications would become immediately apparent. We could no longer condone vigilante or state terrorism, war, abortion, torture, starvation, intolerance. Even our environment would become a key concern to us and no longer a pawn in the hands of Big Business or special interests. We would view all as interconnected and of equal importance to our well being as humans. We need to change fundamentally as a culture, and realize each issue is intertwined if we are to achieve any one piece of it.
That being said, we must denounce all violence that attempts to push one faction's own political agenda. Whatever side you are on on the issue of abortion, the gunning down of George Tiller was an act of domestic terrorism much like the suicide bombings in Baghdad or assaults on school girls in Afghanistan. In each instance the perpetrators were using violence to advance their group's agenda. Each believed they were in the right. We have to remember, we are a nation of laws. Our ability to adhere to them is our strength. We must have dialog to be able to advance in this larger understanding of the issue of human rights, and stop talking past one another. We doom ourselves into a vicious cycle of violence and unrest if we do not increase our ability to engage in respectful, serious discourse on painful issues.
The horror of abortion cannot be properly addressed by the narrow idea of its legality. The legal standing of abortion has never prevented the need for one. Only our full acceptance of our true worth as humans will ever hope to stem it. This is the idea we need to raise into our cultural consciousness, because here is where real change could happen.