My wife tells this story about when her father ran for office. She would recount how he used to say that, “Sure, I’m pro-life. I think that abortion is wrong, I also think the death penalty is wrong.” Life is precious in all of it’s forms. Granted, I may be horribly misquoting and over generalizing. Though I do not think that the sentiment is far off.
This past week “The Daily Show: with Trevor Noah” did a full two acts on Gun violence. The most horribly ironic and tragically twisted was the second act on canned reports in the unending cycle of these tragedies. This was done on Monday. Just days after those reports aired we encountered bomb and gun threats in our own city, and a few more school shootings in this country. This report aired in the second act after taking aim at the rhetoric spouted by politicians trying to end planned parenthood, and how with a slight modification those same statements could make a profound impact toward improving the state of our country in an arena that also deals with life. They ended the first act with this statement:
They’re more like comic book collectors. Human life only holds value until you take it out of the package.
Yes, I do get rather heated about this topic, because it has touched my life more times than I would care to think. No, I have not known anyone who was directly involved with any of these incidents, but they all hit very close to my heart. In 1999 I was a few months shy of 16 when I watched news reports on Columbine. These images of teenagers my age being shot and doing the shooting of others. Over the years hearing more and more reports of people going and taking the lives of others, and being much more aware that this happens. In 2012 watching the news of a shooter, who lived a block from my first official ministry job, going into a theater, that I brought teenagers to years before, shooting and killing people who wanted to watch a movie, that I just walked out of because I was lucky enough to watch it in a city a thousand miles away. This was days before I was to take teenagers to that city.
Yes, as an empathetic person I take these matters very very seriously. Maybe a bit more than I should. Maybe they make me a bit more passionate than they should, but I don’t think we are having enough of a conversation about these things. I feel we aren’t fucking (I apologize for the profanity but it only goes to show how passionately I write about this) talking about the biggest problems that are here in this country.
I am taking this opportunity to say, maybe not in a very public place (because let’s be honest, I don’t have a whole lot of readers), but in the most public way that I can. I am a Pro-Choice-Pro-lifer. I think that all life is precious. I believe that every creature, every plant, every microbe, every bit of the known universe, and even those that we don’t know about is precious. It is beyond our even imagining beautiful and incredible, so how can we even justify a single word that would state otherwise?
This gun violence has gone way way way too far. Now I’m not saying that we should take peoples guns away. I understand the whole idea of collecting. I understand, even though I think it’s a little nutty, people stockpiling and prepping for the apocalypse. I can even understand those people who enjoy shooting guns at ranges. Yes, it’s fun. What I think we need to be doing is having a serious discussion about controlling how people obtain those guns. I have respect for those who hunt. It takes patience. It takes a respect for the animal and understanding of what it takes to put food on the table. I think if you were truly about hunting, collecting, stock piling, or even a hobby-ist you wouldn’t mind going through just a few extra steps to do what you enjoy doing. I don’t think there is anything to be afraid of in obtaining a license. Yes, maybe mental tests are taking a step to far to see if you could obtain a weapon. Yes, maybe even banning them is a step too far. The thing that I care about though is doing whatever it takes to make sure those I care about and care for are safe. Isn’t that what the whole idea behind the whole pro-life argument is about?
People care about unborn babies. I care about unborn babies. I care much much more than I can possibly put into words. After having gone through what my wife and I have gone through I have a unique perspective on the matter. I also believe that banning abortion outright is a step in the wrong direction. I believe that matters are never EVER black and white. Everything in life is a shade of gray, and every time we try to put it into a neat little box we lose a chance to understand things in a better way. I care about people.
A long time ago I prayed something that I wish I could take back. I prayed once that I could love people like God loves people. I say that I wish I could take it back because it hurts like hell. I can’t say that the prayer was completely fulfilled, but I try my best to feel that and be that love. I wish I didn’t care. I wish I could be selfish. Can’t you imagine that a God who loves all of God’s creation hurts so deeply in seeing what we do to each other, to ourselves, and even to the universe that was given to us? We don’t respect any of it. We don’t even respect ourselves do we?
There are many many topics all wrapped into this blog post and to flesh them all out would take much much longer than I have to write at the moment. I believe in redemptive justice. I believe in stricter gun controls. I believe in love. I believe that God is love. I have seen what love can do first hand. It can take a murder and turn him into a prophetic leader who took his people out of slavery in egypt and lead them to a land that was promised them. It can take a shepherd boy and turn him into a king, granted that king also did some things that were not so fantastic. It can even turn those who we think are the worst in society and turn them into some of the best. Love just needs a chance.
Over the next few weeks and months, let us not stop talking about this. Let us not forget about these things that happened and move on with our lives. These things are too damn important for us to just let them drift into the background. We need to talk. We need to tell our leaders to make a change. We need to as the band family force five put it: “Hold up, wait a minute, put a little love in it…” Sorry, for the bad reference but it’s what keeps replaying in my head as I sit here and try to write through eyes clouded with tears…
Aside: I do believe in a woman’s right to choose. I do believe that abortion, in some instances, is wrong. I believe that too much time is spent trying to undo something I think is fine the way it is right now, and that is a conversation that can drift into the background until later.