I remember hearing Cal Thomas, all 6 foot 9 of him, talk about how burned out he had become listening to Christians talk about being “personally opposed” to abortion “but” unwilling to take a stand against it. In fact, he had heard it so often that he was sick of hearing it and had decided that as much as he hated labels, he was now going to refer to those folks as the “personally opposed, but crowd.” Of course, Cal’s statement received a huge applause as well as much laughter, the intended pun not escaping many people.
I felt Cal’s pain. I have never been wired together as one of those sorts of people myself and I have little tolerance for them. In fact, and sometimes to my own detriment, I am just the opposite and have had to learn through the years to choose my battles wisely. At this point in life, now eligible for a senior discount most places, I can narrow those battles down and they always involve my two pet peeves.
The first one of these is when someone who is in a weaker position in life is lorded over by someone who holds the stronger position. It could be a pregnant woman who chooses to abort her child. It might be a boyfriend or husband or parent who strong arms her into that choice. It might be an older child who bullies a younger one. It might be a pastor who spiritually intimidates someone in his church. It could be a man who coerces a woman simply because he is a man and he can. It might be a smart student who mocks someone who is not quite as sharp or articulate. It could be a waitress who makes far less than minimum wage and is trying to earn a living and some embarrassing Christian leaves a Bible tract instead of a tip and says “Jesus loves you” as he walks out the door.
My second pet peeve that ranks right up there beside this one is being patronized. I am a big girl and cannot tolerate such interaction. Just yell at me or let me know you disagree with me, but whatever you do, don’t talk down to me or lead me to believe you agree with me to my face only to disagree with me privately.
And if you are taking a position in a public forum, for crying out loud, don’t dance around an issue and claim to be “personally opposed, but” to it. If you are opposed, say so. If you are in favor, say so. If you still aren’t sure and are working through what you believe, tell me. I, too, am in the process of growing. But don’t try to blur lines, make black and white issues a pretty shade of gray with confusing rhetoric, or use nice words that obscure ugly truth.
Abortion is one of those issues that can really press my hot button. It always involves a weaker person being taken advantage of by a stronger one, on a variety of levels. If a person is “personally opposed, but” to abortion, all that really means is they don’t care if someone else kills a baby, makes a profit doing so, or leaves at least 80 people wounded and bleeding in the process. Pro-abortion folk assume it is someone else’s choice, right? “Choice” sounds so good until you finish the phrase “choice to kill a baby.” Using words like “choice” or even “fetus” or “embryo” only serve to patronize those who hear them. Do pro-abortion people really think we are all that stupid?
What about wife beating? Can you refuse to beat your own wife but then still think that someone else has the right to beat his? What about owning a slave? Can you be opposed to slavery but think it is ok for someone else to own one? And can someone please explain to me how being personally opposed to child abuse but refusing to speak out against those who abuse children or who promote it or teach it or fashion an entire ministry around treating children as lesser human beings is any different? Why are children outside the womb of lesser value than those inside?
I think the Bible has a clearer picture of this. It is called “palliation of sin” and it means to make an offense or a crime or a sin seem less serious or severe. And it is a sin itself.
I would seriously like to understand the “pro-choice-as-far-as-Michael-Pearl-is-concerned” crowd. If you have an answer, please let it be something other than a “personally opposed, but” response. Seriously, I would like to get where you people are coming from and how you form your moral opinions.