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Shocking Coldness generated many responses from many quarters (for my blog, anyway). I have to admit, some of the criticism has forced me to think, while some of the arguments against my (assumed) position deserve a challenge.
First, the original post accurately reflects my opinion about attitudes displayed by the women in the NY Times story. Remember, please, that this is a web log, a journal of my personal opinion and reflection. This is not a Pro-Life organization’s official web site. While I appreciate the concern expressed by those who dislike my hyperbolic descriptions of the women who allowed their abortions to be reported in the NY Times, my intent was not to win converts. Perhaps it should have been. I would also point out, again, that I have previously opposed some tactics of the (claimed) pro-life movement, particularly physical violence, threats, and intimidation.
Next, where is the mercy for the women depicted in the story? For Kori and Karen and Venetia? How am I showing mercy and charity when I write, “Kori is a triple-murderer?”
I don’t know that these women will read my blog entry. I hope they will. Throughout their lives, the media, some doctors, the NEA, and eugenics fronts like Planned Parenthood have fed these women a pack of lies. Lies like Ampersand posted in the comments of the piece, that life begins at fusion of the cerebral cortex, maybe. Lies like, “it’s your body; do with it what you please.” Lies like, “it’s just a clump of cells.” And many, many more lies. Were all of these lies, not lies, but truth, then the successful completion of an abortion would be, indeed, a time of great joy and celebration for these women. The removal of a parasitic growth from a woman’s uterus would be a happy occasion. There would be parties afterward.
Not really. The post-abortive celebrations sound much more like funeral wakes than birthday parties. The confusion of emotions the women express reflects the incongruity between the popular culture’s defense of abortion and the universal truth of the act. These women, with the possible exception of Karen, struggle with two mutually exclusive moral beliefs: a) abortion is morally wrong, and b) it is morally acceptable to have an abortion given my situation. While some, like Ampersand, clearly lack the moral-intellectual sophistication to ponder this incongruity, the women in the story swim in it.
“I believe it’s wrong. I pray to God to forgive me. This will be the last one. Never, never again.”
Theologically, asking forgiveness for a sin one intends to commit in the future is impossible. Tammy, who gave the NY times that quote, sounds like the alcoholic who swears to never drink again–after this one. Or the coke addict who wants just one more line. Now, I have, in my life, committed sins that I knew to be sins at the time I committed them. Yes, like Tammy, I said, “I know this is wrong, but I’m going to do it, dammit.” And, yes, some of these sins involved grave matter.
Herein lies the mercy, or what I intend as mercy. I am telling these women, and anyone else who cares to read, that what they have done is wrong. I am telling them nothing they don’t already feel themselves. While they do not use the words killer, murderer, and infanticide about themselves and their actions, some are clearly are not happy with what they’ve done. Moreover, I’m telling them that they should feel profound guilt and remorse. They’ve paid someone to kill a living person for them. That is a bad thing to do.
The ones who feel some remorse have hope. The ones who feel no remorse, like Karen, are in serious trouble, though. Tammy’s second abortion may, indeed, have been her last. Likewise for Regina. Perhaps they truly believe what they’ve done (twice) was a voluntary sin involving grave matter. If that’s the case, they have two directions to turn–toward the abortion pushers, who will tell them, “it’s okay. You’re just confused, but you did the right thing. It’s hormones you’re feeling. Don’t listen to those narrow, judgmental idiots who say what you’ve done is wrong. They’re bullies, raving lunatics just trying to bring you down.” Or they can turn to those who will tell them what they already know instinctively: “you have participated in a grave sin against God and man. You have destroyed a unique human being who, scripture tells us, God knew before she was conceived. Now turn to God, say I’m sorry and mean it, and sin more.”
Those who follow the first option will build an emotional wall between themselves and truth. They will bury themselves in mountains of platitudes justifying their “choice.” They will scorn and ridicule those women who admit the error
Those who choose the second course of action will accept their guilt and remorse as redemptive suffering. They will, like me and all grave sinners, wonder how the Master who created us and witnessed our violent turn against Him could possibly still love us. They will, at some point, realize that it doesn’t matter how, only that He does. And they will run to His arms, dive into His lap, let themselves be swallowed up in His divine mercy and love.
I ask you now, which is more merciful: to tell a sinner that his sin is okay, or to tell a sinner that his sin was a great crime that can be forgiven? I am telling them that their crime is grave, and that they can be forgiven. I use harsh tones, just as Christ did in Mark 8:33:
But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
Was Hitler a greater sinner than Satan?
By quoting the Bible, I am not “comparing” myself to God, as Ampersand claims. I’m pointing out that Christ was not all honey–He used vinegar. I would also point out that we are called to imitate Christ and the Apostles:
I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 1 Cor. 4:14-16
I have no desire to see the women from this story imprisoned, beaten, or condemned. I have a great desire to read their testimony, someday, to the power of Christ’s love, the Spirit’s renewing fire, God’s mercy and graces. I pray and sincerely hope that Kori, Karen, Venetia, Regina, and Tammy some day find themselves before God Almighty and hear Him say, “Well done! my good and faithful servant. Enjoy the splendor of your Father’s house. My son has prepared a place for you.”
So, am I saying I’m a paragon of mercy? Of course not. Far from it. The mercy I try to give is corrupt and imperfect. But I promise you that the ultimate salvation of these women’s souls, and the souls of the fathers or parents who pushed them toward abortion, is my desire–not their temporal punishment.
I must thank all of you challenged me, for you gave me an opportunity to further examine my own conscience and reminded me to clip my ego’s wings. As always, I will try to do better in the futre.