I passed the local PP abortion clinic yesterday morning. There is a crisis pregnancy clinic less than half a block away. Yesterday morning a group was praying outside PP - which as far as I know doesn't offer its "services" on weekends. I pulled over and made the Asian sign of greeting - hands together as in prayer, smiled and waved. They weren't certain what I was going to do - I presume they are used to some hostility as well as some friendliness.First of all: Deo Gratias!
Once they decided I was a "friendly" they gave the sweetest, warmest smiles. I really can't believe I used to view pro-life witnesses with such hostility and suspicion. I feel like I've crawled out from under some rock. Imagine raging at people who want to protect babies.
Thank you for your part in lifting that veil of illusion. Buddhist practice, which includes a chant for the happiness of all beings, including specifically "those born and to be born" also played a role.
Offering women only the choice to kill their babies is a pathetic comment on our society. Or a comment on our pathetic society. Whichever or both!
Secondly, I think that what my reader points out here is very important; one aspect of our pathetic society is that we tend to demonize those with whom we disagree. It's not enough for us to have sometimes deep philosophical differences; we have to convince ourselves that the one on the other side of an argument is really The Other, as in, the one with whom we have nothing to do.
I've been guilty of that myself in the past, and I most sincerely apologize for it. Christ taught His followers again and again that we are to see The Other as our neighbor, and then to love that neighbor as we love ourselves. This does not mean that we will always agree about things; it also doesn't mean that we are obligated to accept our neighbors' viewpoints or ideas when we do disagree. We just have to accept our neighbor in his or her intrinsic being as someone like ourselves, with the full worth of every son and daughter of the King Whom we await.
If we want to end the horror of abortion, if we want to stand against torture and the capricious use of the death penalty, if we want to work for a society of renewed morality, greater integrity, and a stronger sense of both justice and mercy for all, we have to start by remembering that the people on the opposite sides of any of these issues are people like us. For those of us who are Christians this means recalling that each of them is created, like us, in the image and likeness of God, called to the same noble destiny of eternal happiness with Him that we are. It means refusing to see them as monsters or demons. It means praying for them as earnestly, when they fall, as we would pray for one of our own family, and as we hope for our own salvation.
It means that the command to love our neighbors as we love ourselves is linked inextricably to the command to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strengths. And it means that we have to love all of our neighbors; perhaps we must love most those who annoy or irritate or frustrate or confound us the most.
My reader learned that the people praying for babies weren't really enemies, and the people praying outside that clinic learned that my reader was a friend. Imagine the good we could do if we could all learn this about each other; if we could keep that thought uppermost in our minds as we interact daily with The Others, only to find that they are our neighbors and friends.