Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why I'm Pro Life...

For anyone that pays attention to the news at all over the last 40 years or so, you've certainly noticed that Pro Life vs. Pro Choice (or Pro Abortion) is still to this day one of the most divisive topics in our society and in the Church (The Church as a whole Protestant and Catholic) and possibly the most divisive.

I recently read a an article by self described Progressive Christian writer Rachel Held Evans on this very subject, and, it has finally prompted me to do the same....so here goes.
While I come from the complete opposite background and viewpoints on abortion as Evans does, I did agree with some (but not all) of what she had to say on this issue...But first a bit of my background.
I was raised in a nominal Catholic home in the 1960's and 70's, I say nominal because it was, that's just a fact, my Mom specifically tried (like any good Catholic Mom does) to get my brother and I to Church which many times failed...

My boyhood household was for the most part liberal,  (of course keep in mind liberal meant something quite different in the Kennedy/Johnson era than it does now)
My parents were not Fundamentalists or Conservatives of any sort, voted the straight Democratic Party line and were Catholics typical of that era. Which meant,  Bronco's football on Sunday's for my dad who had worked a long week as an electrician, and my mom typically cooked a good Sunday dinner of pot roast or the venerable meatloaf.

Religion played a part of our household scene, but not a very major part, and reading the Bible was something the priest did, except for Catechism class which...I hated, because it took my good Saturday morning cartoon watching away, and my mom made sure my brother and I went to Catechism classes to my chagrin because I was missing Looney Tunes and Scooby Doo.

 After growing up in the Denver suburbs and partying like a good number of my 70's compatriots did, going off to College at C.S.U. (That's Colorado State) on a partial music scholarship, dropping out of College, working as a printer for a short period, and then getting a professional music gig six nights a week in a local Denver top 40 band (when those gigs were around, which they're not anymore, sadly) something very strange happened...I went on the road in a Christian Rock Band with a High School friend of mine and became a born again Christian after three years in that traveling Christian minstrel extravaganza known as "Steve Taylor and Some Band"

 Needless to say this admittance was a shock to my family at the time (mid eighties) and they didn't know what to think of my new adventures in born again land...But that's a whole other Blog.

While in STASB we did one tour around the Country with another Christian rock band where there were T-Shirts we sold that helped keep the band on the road with the "Choose Life" moniker on them, which was a very popular saying at the time. Little did I know at the time was that saying came from the Bible (oddly enough)

Unlike Rachel Held Evans, I was not privy to the Conservative upbringing knowing what the "Pro Life" movement was really all about. I knew (as a Catholic) that 'Thou shalt not Kill" was one of the Ten Commandments and that abortion was...well, wrong. Catholics (even very nominal ones like myself) knew sort of instinctively I think that abortion was just plain wrong. "Thou Shall not Kill" meant exactly that even if one didn't know the Bible well at all (which I didn't at that time)

When I compare myself to my then young conservative Christian friends at that time who grew up in fairly strict Conservative homes, I suffer some of the same angst and rejection about my spiritual upbringing that they do ( You may turn on the poor me sign now) about their spiritual upbringing, except for the OPPOSITE reason. I had no prodding to read the bible as a kid, I had no one reading bible stories to me at six or seven just before bed, I had no Sunday School or youth groups I was a regular part of, and so, naturally I think I had a lot of spiritual confusion which later came out in a desperate search for spiritual meaning by dabbling in everything from New Age books to Eastern Religious Philosophy in High School and College. I was desperately looking for deeper meaning in my life like a lot of 70's post hippies were beyond what I had been taught (or not taught)

And then I found Jesus...not religion, and that difference was an important one...

The Bible I now know is full of evidence that God is most definitely Pro Life and definitely not "Pro Choice" except today, I understand through God's written word that He has provided for us, that that is so.

How do I know that? someone might say. Well, for instance, the "Choose Life" saying that was so popular 25 years ago in certain circles is from the book of Deuteronomy, "This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. Deuteronomy 30:19.     And, this one from The Book of Isaiah..."Before I was born the LORD called me; from my mother's womb he has spoken my name."      And lastly, there's this sentence from the Prophet Jeremiah, "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb " Jeremiah 1:5. So, for me there is a lot of evidence from God's word itself that He knows us humans before we are even born!  That being the case, if God knows us before we are born, what makes we humans think we have the "Choice" to destroy that life I ask?

But, beyond all other evidence, what makes this sojourner unequivocally "ProLife" is my own personal life experience...My son, now twenty and a Junior in College at Colorado Christian University with scholarships had a 50/50 chance of coming out of the Hospital which was down the road from our then California home.  There were pretty severe complications my wife was having with the pregnancy at that time and she had toxemia, which can kill the baby, but also kill the mother. It's a very serious condition some women get during pregnancy that caused our son to be born very prematurely in 1993, over seven weeks to be exact, and his birth weight was a very low two pounds two ounces.

 My son, whom I played my sax for before he was even born, we were told, would be deformed, that he would have something called Achondroplasia which is a rare form of Dwarfism. Our doctor at the time said that we should have an amniocentesis to check for genetic abnormalities and said there's a small but real chance that would put the birth at risk, and that, we might want a possible abortion. When that was spoken to my wife and I it shocked and angered me. That, the child we wanted very much would be aborted because of a possible deformity was offensive to me and, to be blunt I let our doctor know that very clearly. Abortion was out of the question, and we would take him deformities or not which I think may have surprised her.

As it turned out, our first child was NOT deformed, did not have dwarfism, and he turned out to be the huge blessing we had hoped for even though the pregnancy and birth was very difficult.

So there you have it...Why this spiritual traveler on life's road is Pro Life, and thanks for listening...

I'm just the sax player...