By N Oji Mzilikazi
11 November 2015
I attended mass at my neighbourhood English Catholic Church last Saturday (November 7). It was years since my last attendance… I was open-minded and open-hearted — until the priest got into an anti-abortion tirade…I mean sermon.
I support Planned Parenthood as well as abortion rights.
I was also riled when a white female parishioner refused to shake my hand when it was time for the congregation to shake hands with one another in the spirit/display of fellowship.
It was not the first time a white person in church refrained; refused to shake hands with me. But I thought those days were long over.
Some twenty-five plus years ago, a white parishioner refused to shake hands with my deceased mother-in-law who was here on vacation. Bold and outspoken, she would have none of it. My mother-in-law snatched the woman’s hand saying, “Give me yuh damn hand,” and shook it to “die kingdom come.”
The refusal surprised, shocked, irked. As I watched the old lady walk down the aisle to receive communion I thought “Christians like her makes it easy for people to lose faith or be drawn to other and/or more dangerous/extremist ideologies.”
While the priest rallied against abortion, my thoughts flew to the recent series of scandal to hit the Vatican.
In the spirit of “taking the mote out of one eyes rather than pointing fingers at others with one,” thoughts of the entrenched culture of Church pedophilia and homosexuality bombarded my mind; that in every nation wherein there is a Catholic Church there is documentary evidence of the sexual abuse of children, manly boys by its priests; that the Church has been a sustainer, nurturer and breeding ground for pedophilia; and that the founders of so many Catholic orders were pedophiles.
The pedophilia of the clergy, including non-Catholic clergy is a far more serious issue than abortion.
Abortion is a procedure between a doctor and patient. No one else is affected. Its scars (if any) reside squarely on the shoulders of the female and no other. Plus, an abortion does not hinder or detract from someone living well and being successful.
Like rape, sexual abuse and pedophilia permanently scars. The scaring inhibits one’s ability to trust, love, be affable, have open and honest relationships, and lead to all sorts of self-destructive behaviour.
The sexual abuse of children damage and affect not just the individual, but his/her family and society.
Sexual abuse puts victims on a collision course with addiction, mental illness, aggressive and violent behavior, promiscuity, prostitution, porn, inability to hold down a job, and homelessness. Furthermore, victims of sexual abuse and pedophilia can so internalise the damage; feel their experience is normal and become abusers and pedophiles themselves.
The crime of pedophilia is worse than that associated with abortion. Sexual abuse of children by those that wear the robes of sanctity is most heinous because it erodes trust, faith, and belief that there is a god.
Religious objection to abortion is centered on the Biblical mandate: “Go forth and multiply!”
Then, the earth was sparsely populated, and filled with unlimited resources ripe for exploitation. Employment, self-industriousness, adventures and dangerous quests to seek fortunes were there for the taking. One could, to use the phrase, “Breed like rabbits,” and it wouldn’t be a problem per se. It’s a different story today.
Mankind can no longer afford to be injudicious about procreation or justify uncontrolled reproduction as per the aforementioned Biblical mandate. The world currently hovers on the brink of overpopulation. There is also the overexploitation of its resources.
The culture wrought by technology and modernity has not only brought irreversible changes to every facet of human life, but created employment scarcity as well. They also have us on a collision course with self-destruction.
Many by-products of our industrial and technological advances are toxic, carcinogenic and non-biodegradable. Non-biodegradable products, toxic, nuclear and chemical waste cannot be destroyed. Storage sites and sites of contamination destroy resources as well as shrink space.
Wanton disregard for the environment along with its contamination have diminished green space, animal habitats, and resources. Consequently, we are now saddled with unusable land, bodies of water we cannot drink, fish, or swim in, numerous plants, marine, and animal genus extinct, and much more on the verge of extinction, and fresh clean water under tremendous stress.
The “needs” of an ever-growing population, coupled with the built in obsolesce/throw away of things and extravagant lifestyle as normal, not to mention the energy and electricity technology and industry demand further exacerbate the overtaxing of land and marine resources. Shortages are only a matter of time. In many parts of America depleted aquifers/water shortages are a huge and growing problem.
In this age of robotics, widespread computerization and outsourcing, multiplying has greater economic, environmental and social implications than ever before in the history of the world.
Unchecked population growth in the face of employment scarcity will exacerbate poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, short-tempers and violence, and increase criminality and crime. Factor in diminished government revenue and resources to service the basic needs of the population, and therein is a recipe for civil unrest.
Our health care system is busting at the seams. More and more people are getting sick, dying from new illness and new diseases, and we haven’t been able to cure old ones. Obesity is an epidemic. The huge aging population has an assortment of health needs. Procreation is thus serious, very serious business.
As if the earth has inexhaustible and easily renewable resources, and employment, food and water are there for the taking, countless persons including the religious and special interests groups oppose family planning at home and abroad, contraception, and abortion, even in cases of rape.
Pope John Paul II in The Apostolic Exhortation on the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World, states: “The Church firmly believes that human life, even if weak and suffering is always a splendid gift of God’s goodness.”
The words are beautiful and sound nice, but none who has ever come in contact with the pain, suffering and deaths of innocent children from starvation, preventable diseases or from being born into a war-torn country could interpret damaged and destroyed lives – limbs amputated to save bullets, as blessings from God.
There are parts of the world where women have no control over their womb. Men have territorial rights to women’s bodies. Women have no say on how many children they are going to have. Women have no access to birth control technologies. And rape is a weapon of war.
When there is drought, ethnic conflicts over resources, civil unrest, sectarian violence or war, it’s the children and women that suffer. Their faces we see on television. Then, those that oppose birth control blame their “primitivism” for their condition, silently wonder why those women, already poor, continue to pop babies, and are the first ones to complain about the aid given to “those” irresponsible and backwards folks.
None of those opposed to birth control are ever in the frontlines experiencing the pain, poverty, lack of opportunities, inadequate health-care, and variety of treatable illness/sicknesses that often lead to death in other countries. Nor do they live day in or day out with a child who witnessed the horror of war, is a victim, an amputee, ex-child soldier, or suffered physical, sexual, mental and emotional abuse. But they can sure flap their gums and invoke God.
God has naught to do with procreation. Procreation is all about man and woman sleeping with one another.
As advanced is our economy, educated is our population, and skilled is our workforce, we have huge pockets of illiteracy and poverty, and their attendant ills continue to be recycled.
The foster care/group home/social services system, youth protection, juvenile detention centers, prisons, porn industry, gangs and the streets are busting at their seams with males and females who were loved, conceived in love, conceived accidently, and who, as infants and children, were cute, handsome, beautiful, and loving. So imagine the life trajectory of an unwanted and unloved child.
Children suffer when parents are unprepared, ill-equipped, financially incapable of supporting themselves and a child, and a child come into the world unloved, unwanted, and by accident – because passion got the better of a couple.
We need to stop conceiving children by accident, even when married. Accidents, as everyone knows, can result in scarring, injuries, permanent injury and death. Also, we need to stop conceiving children in the belief that God will help provide for them.
Far too many children suffer from God not coming down to provide for them, and to protect them from parental anger, abuse, neglect, predators that prey on the innocent and the ills engendered by poverty.
Much of the abortion debate centers on when is a foetus to be considered a living human being. To me the most important concern should be at what period of gestation it is unsafe to perform an abortion.
Pro-life/anti-abortionist forces are willing to do battle with those that perform abortion, those that advocate a woman’s right to choose, and those contemplating or seeking an abortion. It would be honourable, if when their intervention prevented an abortion, they will, after the birth of the child offer moral, physical and financial support to those who might be in need of them. But that is not their interest. Theirs is about bringing life into the world even if one lacks the means to provide for him/her.
Since the female is the one that bears the human child, women deserve easy access to birth control technologies, the right to plan their families, and the right to terminate a pregnancy if she so desires.
Abortions ought to be a female right, as well as made accessible to women.
Abortion is never an easy decision for any woman to make (Women that have had abortions have spoken of the psychological scar it leaves – a memory they live with for the rest of their life.), but it is a right every woman deserves. Consequently, the right to abortion should be legally protected.
To those that oppose abortion I say, “If Adolf Hitler’s mother had an abortion, the industrial slaughter of six million Jews would not have taken place.”