I am a Pro-Choice Pastor

I have remained silent far too long. Sure, I have posted the odd MEME and article that supports choice, but I have never written or preached on the subject. Perhaps it was out of fear or the desire to avoid conflict in the various churches I have been in; I am not sure. But after yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling striking down 50 years of settled law, I feel I have a duty and an obligation to add my voice. I am a lover of Jesus Christ, a minister in God’s Church, and I am pro-choice.

I have, however, not always felt this way.

A couple of years after I was ordained, I attended the “March for Life” in Washington, DC. I had not spent much time on either side of the issue, so I thought pro-life meant that life was to be respected from whenever one thinks it begins to the natural end of that life. I quickly learned that many in the pro-life movement are hypocritical – there is no respect for life past birth, only before. Although the march was peaceful, the undertone of fear and anger was present. Seeing and feeling this set me on a journey of discernment about this issue and many more.

Choice is a very personal matter. Personally, I do not like the idea of abortion, but that is my choice. Thankfully, I have never been in that position, but if I was, I hope I would make an informed decision that involved my spouse and that we would do what is best for our family. But that is my choice, and not another’s choice. Although I may be personally against the idea of abortion, I cannot and should not be allowed to make that decision for another person.

Additionally, this is not and should not be a religious issue. Religion and faith should inform an individual, and then that individual makes choices based on that faith and belief. Religion should not be the basis for the laws of democracy, and I say this because not all religions look at issues the same way.

Just because I have been asked, I will answer. I believe that human life begins at birth. I have a child, and through the miracle of medical science, I watched her develop in the womb. My belief in life comes from Genesis and the creation of humanity. God created humanity with God’s hands from the dust of the earth, but it was not until God breathed God’s breath into humanity that humanity was alive. The ancients believed that the soul entered the body with that first breath. This is my belief, and it is not up for debate, nor do I think you might be wrong for believing the way you do.

Living in a free society means there will be laws with which I disagree. But these are rights and laws nonetheless. Freedom means just that, freedom – not just for me but for all. Everyone, regardless of race, gender, color, creed, and all the rest, should have the same rights. It does not matter what state you are from or how much money you have. Rights should equally apply to all; if not, then we are not a free society.

If you do not like abortions, don’t get one. That is your choice. But do not take that choice away from someone else.

I know many of you are hurting and angry right now, and that is okay. Sit with that and let those emotions flow; then, we get to work! If you protest, stay peaceful and calm, do not give in to the anger and hate. Be ready for the long game. Battles are not won or lost in a single day, so pace yourself and, please, take care of yourself. And to those like me who are in the shadows, now is the time to come out and be a support for those on the front lines.

I started this essay by saying that I have been silent for too long, and for that, I apologize; my fear and discomfort have kept me in the shadows far too long on many issues, and that ends today.

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