Final thoughts on abortion

So we’re bumping down off of five days of mostly abortion talk most of the time.  And it’s been an interesting ride.

I’d like to wrap it all up now as tidily as possible when dealing with this kind of issue.  First, I’d like to state again that I am personally pro-life, but politically pro-choice.  My personal beliefs stem directly from my religion- and absent from that religion I would not have any reason to have the opinion I do.  Respecting that fact, I will make no attempt to force my beliefs on someone who does not have the religious convictions I do.  Because I could not expect a girl who was raped to carry that child to term without God to hold up her head.  I could not expect a mother of four or five who is facing having another child with no money to support it and no way to pull herself up to have that child without God and a community of believers to support her.  I do believe in what is best and what is holy- I believe in the honor one brings on oneself by choosing life.  But that honor is there because it is a choice.

I believe that we all need to under stand the ethical and “natural” arguments used to counter our religious beliefs if we want to have meaningful conversations about the issue.  We need to understand what the world at large believes and why.  We cannot hope to inform the decisions of others if we do not understand the logic and thought that precedes those decisions.  To put it flatly, it’s an issue of respect.  We cannot expect someone to respect the value of our religiously informed decisions if we discount the value of their ethically informed ones.  If you show courtesy and respect, if you seek knowledge and understanding, people will respond in kind.  If you simply say, “my way is better” without even understanding the concept of any other way, people will view you as arrogant and ignorant.  And rightly so.  I am sure my way is better because I understand all the other options- and Christ and God’s love is what I have returned to.  When I debate those who have secular beliefs or religious beliefs that stem from other traditions, I debate them understanding the value and logic of their own thinking- and they respect me, because they know that my faith doesn’t come from ignorance but from knowledge.

I pray that all Christians can seek knowledge without fear, trusting that if the God they love is the true one, they will return to him always.

And as the last lap of this rather circuitous road, let’s talk about our responsibility.  I believe that as Christians we have a moral obligation to share God’s love and mercy with all whom we meet.  I believe that we fail to do so at our own peril.  I believe that when we put ourselves in God’s place and judge others we are judged in kind- and all of these beliefs stem not from my own heart but the Bible.  I believe that the way in which Christians approach and handle the issue of abortion does far, far more harm than good.  We cry out God’s love for the unborn, but in doing so we distance ourselves from the born.  We seek to save the baby and we fail, and in that failure we lose any hope we may have had of caring for the mother.

We do so at our own peril.

I will say this once.  And I will say this with all sincerity and conviction.  If you choose to condemn a woman that has gotten an abortion, and your condemnation causes her to harden her heart towards God, and she dies and receives the punishment for her hard heart-  her blood is on your hands.

I reject the basic premise that we are called to convict others of their sins and their hard hearts are not our responsibility.  No.  We are called to soften their hearts so that God himself can bring the conviction.  We are going about it the wrong way.

I’ve heard the stories of women raped by relatives, raped by male friends, torn and bleeding and broken they go to get an abortion because they are suicidal and fear that if they attempt to bring the child to term they will end both their lives.  I’ve heard the stories of these same girls being screamed at from the sidelines, called sluts and murderers.

It’s no wonder that these girls cannot accept the fact that God loves them.  How could God love them if his family brings down such hatred in his name?

This is the cost of our stance on abortion.  We do not save the child, because it is legal to end it’s life.  No, all we do is throw away the mother like so many scraps, the collateral damage in our war on a legal and societally accepted procedure.

Shame on us.

Ethical Arguments, part two

Is an embryo the same thing as a baby?

This is an argument that has been going on for a long, long time.  The Christian argument resounds more or less along the lines of “in the eyes of God it is the same, and since an embryo left in it’s natural environment will become a baby, they are obviously the same thing.”

While religiously speaking the argument is sound, so long is that is what you truly believe- the argument doesn’t hold up to logical scrutiny.  Allow me to explain: I have a coupon for a free cheeseburger.  If I take it to Burger King, I can hand it to the cashier and recieve a cheeseburger.  Which is great.

But the coupon isn’t actually a cheeseburger.  If I eat the coupon, I won’t be consuming a cheeseburger.  While to me the coupon is of equal value and worth as an actual cheeseburger (because I’m hungry!) to someone else it may not be the same.  They will look at it, not being hungry, and throw it away.  Because they don’t want a cheeseburger.

Just because something has the potential to become something else doesn’t mean they are the same thing.  A seed is not a flower.  A pea is not a vine.  A head of corn is not a cornfield.  Potential does not equal worth- worth is determined in life largely by our own desires and perceptions.  If I want to plant a garden and recieve a bag of dried beans, I will plant them.  If someone else wants a bowl of soup and recieves a bag of dried beans, they will cook them.

Now, I will admit that an embryo isn’t a coupon or a bag of beans.  In a way those are unfair analogies.  An embryo is a living, growing entity and the only thing it needs to turn into a baby is nutrients, a womb, and time.  The question then becomes if an embryo is entitled to those things.  Some people say, “yes, after it is conceived.”  Other people say, “yes, period.”  Other people say, “cancer is a living, growing entity- but it doesn’t have rights.”

Yes, it is chilling to hear a fetus compared to cancer.  But the comparison is out there.

So the question remains.  Are the two the same?  Is an embryo a baby?  Or is it simply potential to become a baby?

Ethical arguments, part one

Let’s talk ethics.

But first, let me say this:  while there are some things that do get under my skin and make me strengthen my tone, I in no way regret the decision to post this series.  I do not grieve over the squabbles in the comments.  I see a bunch of people with strongly held views struggling with how to relate those to the content of posts, and that pleases me.  Because in fairly considering our values, we find challenge and growth.  That growth doesn’t have to align with my own value system for me to take pleasure in it.

Now, let’s talk about ethics.

I have rarely heard an argument made adainst first trimester abortions that wasn’t based off of religious belief.  I have heard ethical arguments against abortion beyond that point- for example, once the brain stem is fully formed and functioning, the fetus ought to be considered a human being; or that once the fetus would be considered viable should it be born, it should be considered equal in rights to a born child.

I have heard no such argument for a first trimester abortion.

Note that I am not saying that such an argument cannot rationally exist- just that I have never heard such an argument.

Let’s not have an unequal argument.  If one person says, “this is the code of medical ethics” and another says “this is the code of religious ethics”, they aren’t having a debate.  They are simply reiterating their own feelings without consideration for the point of the other.  And if I am the one with religious beliefs, it is MY cross to bear that I must lower myself to the level of the debate at hand, rationally evaluate the arguments of my peers, and try to discredit them on their own value, or accept them as the only rational truth to be observed in the absence of belief in God.

Yes, I realize this is a highly uncomfortable fact, but we cannot foist our religious beliefs on other people to save them from their own immorality.  That immorality is a choice afforded to them by God himself, and a state whose consequences they alone will bear.

Now, I understand that when it comes to abortion rationales such as my own become tenuous- because if it is to be believed that abortion is equal to murder, it’s not someone’s own immorality that we are condemning, but instead a life that we are attempting to save.

Then we must return to the question of proof.  How is one to prove that it is murder?

My challenge to you, today, is to make a rational argument that a fetus under the age of twenty two weeks gestation is equal in value to a born child, without the use of any religious or moral arguments or religious texts.

Parental Rights

This one is for Mssc54, who can get a little cranky about it’s never being mentioned.

So a woman wants to abort.  Should the father of the child be able to control her decision?

Let’s start somewhere other than where people expect us to.  Let’s talk about a (somewhat) happily married couple.  They already have five children together and live in a small house in a small town.  She works from home part time while the older kids are in school, and he did own his own business until the bottom fell out of their town’s economy and their business was forced to close.  They are considering pulling up roots and moving closer to where her parents live- her parents have offered her employment, and he can find some kind of part-time work until they can start a new business or he figures out what he wants to do with his life.

Their savings account is nearing zero- they don’t have much time to figure things out.  That’s when she finds out she’s pregnant- despite being on the pill and being responsible.  He immediately wants to keep the child, discounting the fact that it will “make things hard” for them for a while.  He wants six kids, and they have four boys and one girl.  He’d like another girl.

She is horrified, thinking of how is she going to be able to work at all with an infant?  Right after a move?  How is all of this stress going to affect the pregnancy?  Her husband is a bit of an emotional wreck- the roller coaster they are going to be on until all the pieces fall back together is hard enough without adding an infant.  They already have five happy kids- they never even considered having another one until it just happened.

So- should the father be able to force the mother to keep the child?  Keep in mind that both parties do want to stick together and work things out in their marriage- but if he is able to legally compel her that would totally change the ball game.  And while they may be able to make everything work having this baby- at this point in her life the woman isn’t exactly young any more and it could be really, really hard.  Yes- they could have it and put it up for adoption, but the older kids would likely be very confused and hurt by that.  If they have the baby, they’re keeping it- but if they keep it it’s at the expense of their entire family- a family already indebted to relatives to just make it through.

You might tell me that story is ridiculous- but keep in mind a not small percentage of abortions are performed on women who already have more than one child and cannot afford another baby.

Now- let’s keep avoiding the point everyone expects and talk about teenage boys.  Let’s imagine seventeen year old Rick knocks up fourteen year old Tammy.  Tammy’s parents encourage her to have an abortion.  Tammy herself is terrified and nearly incapable of making her own decisions.  Tammy’s doctor says that she is still a little young to be carrying this child to term, that it may affect her body more severly than would be expected with a normal pregnancy.  So Tammy’s parents and Tammy’s doctor are both “pro-abortion”- Tammy is young and scared and unsure- but Rick, Rick wants this baby.  Let’s say for the sake of argument that Rick didn’t use protection and Tammy was naive.  So let’s say that Rick is, in fact, responsible for this pregnancy.

Does a young kid have the right to force an even younger one to have a baby?  If her parents and her doctor all agree that abortion is the most sensible course of action, should the father be able to force the girl to have the child?

Now, legally speaking- if it became possible for the father in one of these cases to get an injunction to force the mother to bear the child- whose responsibility would it be to pay for the paternity test to insure that he really is the father?  Whose responsibility would it be to pay for expenses relating to the pregnancy?  Whose responsibility would it be to pay for the delivery of the child?  For housing for the mother, if she is booted out of her house?

How would we go about insuring that the father’s rights have not been neglected?  Will women then have to have some sort of legal form indicating that the father was informed and supports the abortion?

And that leads us where we’re going, so to speak.  Let’s talk about the fact that while “forcible rape” may be the stated reason for less than one percent of rapes, it’s the unstated reason for more.  Let’s talk about abusive relationships in which the girl simply isn’t able to stand up for herself, where sex is forced on her in a way that is an awful lot like rape, where she trades her will and loses control.  Let’s talk about incest and rape by a relative- things so shameful that a girl would rather lie and say she had unprotected sex with another kid than admit that a brother, cousin, or father was raping her.

There is no legal recourse for the father of the unborn child not because of the majority of the time when his feelings have (hopefully) been considered by the mother- but for the minority of the time when having legal recourse for the father would further hurt those who are already being abused.

The same is true of parental notifications- they would simply inflame situations in which girls are at very high risk of abuse, neglect, or endangerment from their parents.  One might flippantly say “then why don’t those girls leave?” but to say that shows an incredible lack of insight into what life is like for the abused.  There are numerous books on the subject, all outlining the amazing power that an abuser has over the abused, even after they are free.  The amount of control placed over a person’s mind, the loss of will, the acceptance of abuse and even torture…

So should the father have legal rights to the unborn?

To do so would give him legal control of the mother, perhaps even to the point that he could control what doctor she saw, where and what she ate, if she was allowed to have coffee or take her depression meds…  in this case the “slippery slope” argument makes sense to me, and I don’t like where it’s sliding.  As a woman I like to have control of my own body and uterus.  Woe be it to the man who tries to take that away from me!

when does life begin?

The Bible holds two apparently conflicting views.  First, there is this:

Psalm 139:13-14

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

There are many similar verses to this, some in Job, Judges, and various other books of the Bible.  All of them refer to God as “he who knit me in my mother’s womb”.

Those verses are very poetic and evocative- but there is another troublesome little detail:

Exodus 21:22

If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

The letter of the law in ancient Israel did not view an unborn child as of equal value to a born one.  In fact, it viewed an unborn child as equal to the monetary value placed on it by it’s father.  That is the closest we can come to know what God himself intended for the value of the unborn to be.  The other verses, while beautiful, are also poetic– and while the phrasing is very evocative I don’t think that poetic license should be used as a basis for spiritual judgment any more than when the poet says “my body burns for you” we should believe that he’s literally lit himself on fire as a testament to his love.

My point is not to be argumentative, but simply to clearly illustrate that the Bible does not irrefutably state a point at which life begins.  So, then, we must rely on our good judgment.  Let’s start at the front and work ourselves backwards, starting with the delivery of a healthy and whole child.  If a child is born, and it breathes, and it is clearly alive and viable, and the doctor throws it on the ground and stomps on it until it’s head bursts, that is clearly and unequivocally murder.  The child is alive, it is breathing, it is no longer dependent on it’s mother for life.

If a child is in the process of being born- that is, if it’s mother is in labor- and the doctor makes a poor decision based off of negligence or a disregard for the well-being of the mother and child, and the child is stillborn as a result of that negligence, the doctor can still be charged with a crime.  The reason being that while the child was not born and alive- the child clearly would have been if not for the doctor’s disregard.  We can reasonably make this decision because medical science has advanced to the point that most children carried to full term who do not have congenital problems survive delivery if the delivery is properly monitored.

Now let’s step back a little.  Let’s say that a mother is near term (36 weeks gestation, roughly) and is in a car accident.  There is serious injury to the child and it is stillborn.  At that point, the child would have almost invariably survived the birth had there not been extenuating circumstances- and depending on what state the accident occurred in and if the person whose fault it was was drunk or negligent- they may be charged with an additional crime for the death of the unborn.

Let’s go back a little further, to an early third trimester pregnancy that has had no problems so far.  Let’s imagine that the mother is mugged and injured and as a result loses the child.  At this point most people still see it as a crime- because the child would have had a very good chance of surviving the birth, and of living.  (Although at this point they may have had chronic heart and lung problems due to not being fully formed.)

Let’s go earlier- to say, four or five months.  At this point there is still a somewhat large risk of spontaneous miscarriage.  But, let’s say that the miscarriage comes as a result of the mother tripping and falling hard on her stomach while doing step-aerobics.  Should the father of the child be legally capable of charging the mother with negligence, as it is technically her responsibility?

Many doctors will advise a mother not to widely advertise her pregnancy in the first trimester because of the risk of spontaneous miscarriage.  A child at that point has no hope whatsoever of surviving outside of it’s mother.  It may have a functioning heartbeat- but no fully formed brain stem or even eyes.  The first ultrasound may not show a lovable, cuddle-able baby, but something that looks more like an alien embryo or a peanut with a heartbeat.  If the mother miscarries at this point it is likely no one’s fault but natures.  The child certainly has the potential to make it to the end of the pregnancy alive and healthy- but it is far from guaranteed.

Let’s go back a few months, to the point where the mother is probably unaware that she’s even pregnant.  What if she drinks excessively, or does drugs, or eats soft cheese or raw fish or eggs?  What if she does any number of foolish things that a mother can do that might harm her child?  What if she’s on a medication for depression or anxiety that may cause birth defects?  Is the child really alive at this point- or just potentially alive?  If it were legally a human being, what rights would it have if it’s mother didn’t even know it existed?

And then there’s the moment of fertilization- a moment when the egg has a relatively low chance of implantation- not to mention survival to the point of being a viable pregnancy.

At what point does life really begin?

Remember always that when we are talking about the rightness of the legality of abortion we are also talking about the ethical implications of stating that a zygote has the rights of a fully formed, born, and breathing human.  Will we be appointing people to speak on behalf of the unborn?  Will they bar mothers from drinking and smoking, taking their medication for depression, eating sushi, attending concerts…  At what point, then, does it become clear that the rights of the mother become inconsequential- that the only concern is with the unborn, to the loss of all else?  I say this as a mother who willingly curtailed consumption of caffiene and sugar, who happily gave up my rights to my body for the sake of my child- but it was a choice, and as a choice it had value.

My reason for saying this is because we must never, ever forget that most women who have abortions have them not for convenience or greed, but because they believe they are making the right choice for all involved- including the unborn child.

Imagine a woman who drunk heavily and did a lot of drugs before realizing she was pregnant.  If she has this baby, it may have numerous birth defects, it may never be able to live a full and independent life- and if it is born, she has no way of caring for it herself.  She looks at the possibilities for life for a mentally handicapped and disabled child in foster care, and she can’t bear to bring a child into that much pain, heartache, and desolation.

Imagine a woman who is mildly scizophrenic and severely bi-polar.  She does all the responsible things to prevent pregnancy- but these things do happen.  One of the side effects of several of her medications is birth defects, and if she stops taking them she’s afraid that she might do something to harm herself or her unborn child.  She looks at the loneliness and pain of her own life and fears passing it down to her child (as rational or irrational as said fear may be) and she honestly thinks that it’s better, better for her child, if it dies innocent.

A sixteen year old girl finds herself pregnant by her older and slightly abusive boyfriend, who forced her to have sex with him.  She’s terrified of how he would be as her father, she can’t imagine bringing a child into his family and exposing it to the drugs and alcohol that would be there.  She knows that she can have him declared an unfit father and put the child up for adoption, but she’s young and she’d be kicked out of her school and her parents would be furious with her and she worries.  But most of all she knows that her only option would be adoption, and she worries about what that would be like for the baby.  Would it be lonely?  Bitter?  What if the parents ended up not treating the child well?  She’d never see or hear from her baby again, she’d never know if her child was happy it was born or if it would hate her for it later…  She wishes she could undo it all, but that’s not an option.

The question then becomes: is it really a child they would be undoing- or the potential for a child?  Those are two very separate things.

Please consider carefully before making your comment- and if you haven’t read the comment guidelines for the abortion series, please do so.

Abortion: comment guidelines

This topic is one that pushes a lot of hot buttons, and gets a lot of blood flowing.  I’ve mentioned it in the context of larger issues just to have those issues pushed to the background by how prevalent the need to frankly discuss abortion is.

So, in order to give this large topic it’s due, I’m going to write a series of posts on it to examine it fairly from every angle, from several contexts.  We will approach abortion from the angle of science, of religion, of ethics, from the standpoint of mothers of multiple children and scared teenage girls- will talk about the often unmentioned topic of parental rights- mainly the rights of the prospective father and grandfather.

And, finally, coming full circle- we will talk, again, about what good Christianity can and can’t do- especially if business as usual continues.

A few guidelines for comments:

1– While I don’t mind people pointing out topics they would like to discuss, I would like them to keep in mind that the following will be a series of posts- so always, please, address the topic at hand or hold your breath until a post fits better into your agenda.

GOOD:  I would like to hear more about the rights of the father.  But, pertaining to the topic of Biblical studies- you have neglected a verse in the old testament I particularly like, as follows (…)

BAD:  What you said is totally irrelevant because you’re ignoring how it affects the father.

2– While I acknowledge that my beliefs as a Christian don’t necessarily line up with the larger body, don’t attack my personal morality or the personal morality of other commenters.  You can feel free to quote a verse or teacher that you think is relevant or that I’ve ignored- but say something demeaning and you risk your comment being redacted or deleted.

GOOD:  I find it hard to face this sort of question, considering the fact that you are asking us to pick sides between a helpless infant and a mother who should take responsibility for her own actions.

BAD:  If you really think that you aren’t a Christian. Boy are you gonna be shocked come Judgment Day.  Oh, and [commenter Z], you’re a painted Jezebel.  Watch out for dogs.

3– Obviously these are divisive issues, and as such there will be things said by myself and other commenters with which you will disagree.  AND THAT IS FINE.  I realize I’m saying the same thing three times- but, be polite.  And try to react only to the content of the posts and comments. Do not infer beliefs that aren’t directly stated.  Do not make gross generalizations.  Be sure that you are reacting to actual things said, not simply things you’ve heard before.

Examples:

1-

Lila says:

I’ve always personally seen the Christian urge to control women’s reproductive rights as an extension of their desire to return to a patriarchy in which men are the priests of the house and women are to be silent

John says:

Wow Lila way to quote the democratic handbook, surprised you didn’t take a potshot at Sarah Palin there

Lila says:

WTF?

2

Mark says:

But have you even seen the pictures of the fetuses?  Doesn’t that break your heart?  Can you really stomach knowing that you are endorsing that?

Jeanna says:

Yeah and next your going to mention killing the elderly as being the next step aren’t you?  I DON’T WANT TO KILL YOUR GRANDMA

Mark says:

I’m sure Nan will be glad to hear that?

3

Mary says:

But you have to consider what it’s like for a raped girl- as if the violation hadn’t gone on enough, now she has to face a pregnancy, everyone making assumptions about her, knowing that this has been done to her against her will

Steven says:

Sure, and then there’s the whole “life of the mother thing” and all of that other idiocy, all of it just a blanket excuse to make it okay for women to get abortions instead of learning to be responsible for their own actions.  Whatever.  All you people ever do is ply on our sympathies and try to make us feel bad for you, when at the end of the day it’s only about not being told what to do.

Mary says:

All us people?  How did you know I was black?  Freaking bigot.

Steven says:

[redacted]

Now- those were all comment conversations I made up.  Because cutting and pasting some of the real things I’ve seen would turn my stomach.  Please- keep this all in mind as we go on this journey together.  I don’t want to smack any of you down- but I will if I have to.  Topics like this are hard enough to face without fear, condemnation, and misinterpretation complicating matters.

on being reactionary

Because I’m not the sort of person to ignore it when I step in dog poo, as I figuratively did with my previous post.  Now- I’ve often said that I am politically pro-choice, but personally pro-life.  This is something that is sometimes very hard for people to wrap their minds around.

Yet I shall say it again, because apparently my passing mention of abortion in the post titled You’re the one with the Problem means I said that getting abortions is awesome and everyone should try it.  Okay, so perhaps I’m really exaggerating and being overly dramatic- but it frustrates me when people read subtext where there is none, infer things that needn’t be inferred, and react to stimuli that I myself didn’t offer.  I mention abortion- not in a context that says “this is okay” or “this is good” or “I support this”- but in a context that says “before confronting other people’s sins, honestly face your own.”

And what do people do?  They react to that one part of the post without, apparently, reading the entire thing.  Mind you, it’s a handful of people, not everyone that read the post.  And it’s a handful of people who don’t normally read my blog.  So honestly, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter much.

Yet I find myself out here, needing to explain a little.  And so I shall.  I don’t think abortions are good.  I don’t think that the way they are treated in the United States is good.  I feel like as a procedure they are not held to the same standard of medical ethics as other procedures, which is bad.  I’ve known people who have had abortions without being informed of the risk of cervical scarring and infection.  This is, in fact, bad.  I also think that people are not necessarily aware of the psychological impact that abortions can have- which is also bad.  I think that people who are pro-life would get a lot further if they attacked not the legality of abortions, but the way in which the procedures themselves are handled.  I also think that there is a lot that can be done from a societal perspective to lower the amount of abortions that are sought.

Thus, while I am personally pro-life, while I think that abortions are not good, as well as not always necessary, I have become politically pro-choice, as I find that the party that best affects the kinds of changes I would like to see is not the “pro-life” party.

That is what us writers call irony.

But, honestly, I will say it again:  I don’t like abortions.  I don’t think they’re awesome.  I don’t think that they always solve the problems people wish they could solve.  There’s not a magic button to make the problem of pregnancy go away.  A young girl who gets an abortion because she’s being forced to grow up too fast and doesn’t want to deal with the problems her pregnancy creates does not uncreate her problems by having an abortion.  In fact, she only creates a newer, harsher set of problems for herself.

That is precisely the thing I was thinking of when I wrote that sentence that has gotten me into so much trouble on my previous post.  Because I was thinking of that fictional girl, and how much grief she is going to feel, and how much pain, and how much confusion, and how much need- and I was thinking of that screaming man holding that horrific sign…

and I was thinking that the last person in the world that girl would go to for healing is that man.

THAT, dear readers, is the problem.  The problem is not the ethical problem of whether or not abortions is right, the problem is that even if they are absolutely wrong, morally and ethically, the way Christianity confronts the problem does solve anything with any adequacy.  We alienate everyone that has and would have abortions, we set up fences, we pat ourselves on the back for we have assuaged our consciences with our rage- but at the end of the day the girls we yell at still get the abortions, and when they have to pick up the pieces there is no one there to hold their hands.

I wonder- what would Jesus say about that?  Would he join in the toast at the end of the day after the protest, or would he go to comfort the girl with her blood and fear and tears, the girl whose world has fallen apart, the girl who we have offered guilt and condemnation but not salvation?

Have we honestly found a moral high ground?

If we have, I don’t want it.  I want to be in the muck with the sinners.  I want to hold their hands.

/end rant