Recently I found a brilliant blog post entitled, “Jesus and the Pope: a question about the politics of love vs. the politics of religion” which I definitely encourage you to read. The post itself is a response to the Pope’s views on gay marriage and talks about how world peace is not threatened by gay people, but by those who refuse to have an attitude of love and respect for others. If we constantly insist that being gay is “wrong” then people will continue to uphold this attitude, pushing us further and further from any sort of world peace.
It also talks about how there’s nothing in the Gospels where Jesus tells anyone to turn round and stop loving people, to tell them that being gay is wrong. Nothing is mentioned about abortion either, or politics, or women leading in the Church, or our own personal stance on the military, or vegetarianism, or omnivores. Seems like a strange list, doesn’t it?
What I’m trying to say is there everyone has different beliefs on certain topics. Some may think abortion is wrong, some may believe that all Christians should be liberals, some might not think we should eat meat, some might think we shouldn’t eat anything but meat.
I’m so tired of Christians making Christianity and being a Christian about all these issues. I’m so tired of being overly involved in politics, in judging people by their political stance. I am a liberal, through and through, but that shouldn’t stop me loving people who choose to be Conservative. I may disagree with them, but that doesn’t stop them from needing the love of God just as much as I do.
One thing that’s really been stuck in my mind recently has been the Church’s issue with abortion. I haven’t been wrestling with my opinion on it, but I’ve been thinking about how utterly hurtful anti-abortion protests can be to women who have had or who are going to have abortions. One of my good friends at university was studying to be a nurse and for one of her placements she worked in a women’s ward, which sometimes admitted women who were having abortions. She didn’t necessarily agree with abortion, but she told me that her opinion on abortion didn’t matter. The women who came in weren’t ecstatic to be there and it was her job to make them comfortable.
I wish this is the attitude that all the anti-abortion protesters would take, but instead they choose to see more value in the life of an unborn foetus than the woman standing before them. A woman in the Republic of Ireland died because the hospital refused to let her have an abortion, based on the ideals of the Catholic Church; as far as I know she wasn’t even Catholic.
I spent a lot of time at university being a student and trying to fight for a cause. One day it was vegetarianism (I gave up on that quickly), the next it was pacifism, the next it was feminism, the next it was being a liberal. I still agree with a lot of these things, but now I choose to love the people who don’t agree with me, instead of condemning them, because that’s what Jesus does. Maybe someone doesn’t agree with me on abortion, but that doesn’t make them a bad person, and I hope that Christians who don’t agree with abortion and who have chosen to be vocal about it will learn to just love the people who disagree with them, remembering to show love to the countless broken women who have had to let go of their unborn children.
I want to leave you with a C.S. Lewis quote. I’m currently reading The Screwtape Letters, one of Lewis’ satirical works from the viewpoint of the demon Screwtape. The book was written at the time of the Second World War and in one chapter Screwtape talks about how it is important to make the “patient” (or the human that his nephew, Wormwood, is trying to distract from God) become militantly involved in the idea of either pacifism or patriotism:
Let him begin by treating the Patriotism or Pacifism as a part of his religion. Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important part. Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely part of the ’cause’, in which Christianity is valued chiefly because of the excellent arguments it can produce in favour of the British war-effort or of pacifism. The attitude which you want to guard against is that in which temporal affairs are treated primarily as material for obedience. Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing. Provided that meetings, pamphlets, politics, movements, causes, and crusades, matters more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours – and the more ‘religious’ (on those terms) the more securely ours. I could show you a pretty cageful down here. Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.