Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The company one keeps

Because of the official affiliation the Episcopal Church has with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), other groups are able to use ECUSA's name to validate their abortion support, groups like the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing. From their open letter to religious leaders on abortion as a moral decision (a RCRC representative participated in writing this - so in a sense, this letter has ECUSA's stamp of approval):

. . . Millions of people ground their moral commitment to the right to choose in their religious beliefs. While there are strong public health and human rights arguments for supporting the right of women to safe and legal abortion, here we invite you to consider the religious foundations for affirming abortion as a morally justifiable decision. . .

. . . The sanctity of human life is best upheld when we assure that it is not created carelessly. It is precisely because life and parenthood are so precious that no woman should be coerced to carry a pregnancy to term. We support responsible procreation, the widespread availability of contraception, prenatal care and intentional parenting. . .

. . . Scriptural commitment to the most marginalized means that pregnancy, childbearing, and abortion should be safe for all women. . .

And at the end of this letter, they proudly list supporters of abortion:
Many religious denominations have passed policies in support of legalized abortion. They include: . . . Episcopal Church. . .

More than 40 religious denominations and organizations are members of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

The Religious Institute also offers denomination statements about sexuality education, and of course, ECUSA is listed. From the ECUSA statement, there is no clear intent to support abortion that I can see, except ECUSA resolution No. 1988-A089, passed in 1989 is titled "Promote Use of Materials on Human Sexuality and Abortion for All Age Groups" and the use of the word "Promote" seems supportive of what follows:
Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, that this 69th General Convention call on the Presiding Bishop and the Executive Council to provide and promote the use of materials on human sexuality, birth control and family planning for all age groups as part of this Church’s on-going Christian Education curricula as reflective of God’s creation; and be it further

Resolved, That the topic of abortion be included in the Church’s education curricula and that these materials be explicit, with a full understanding of the physical, emotional and spiritual realities and risks involved in abortion; and be it further

Resolved, That we encourage the members of this Church to give strong support to responsible local public and private school programs of education in human sexuality.”

The difficulty, of course, is that while some of this language may sound appropriate and reasonable, we all know what is really being advocated - abortion as a family planning option. Sometimes I think, "Who wouldn't support helping women with reproductive health?" and then I remember that these are churches speaking in support of abortion, not government agencies or secular theorists, and for me the sense of betrayal and ungodliness is overwhelming. And I realize that the push for the "easy" solution, the attempt to erase the "problem" is how our fallen society tries to deal with these fundamental issues, but should never be the approach of the Church who should be considering the eternal effect of these actions on women, men, and children.

As Christians, we are called to help those in need, most especially women who may feel overwhelmed and alone, and the children they carry to life in the world.

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