The recent flap over Cheyenne Frontier Days support of the Komen Foundation reminded me of just how weary I am of abortion politics in Wyoming and elsewhere. Objections raised by WyWatch and Richard Wall are also a clue about the true nature of this 40 year war.
At the end of the day, what’s clear is the battle is central to the hopes of some that they can impose their religious beliefs on all of us. They use their Bibles to answer a question that was never posed to Jesus or any of the others whose stories the Book tells. The Right to Life argument finds no support under any responsible interpretation of the Bible. Anti- choice fanatics must take verses out of context and then torture the meaning they want from words never intended to be used to settle this dispute.
To be sure, their heartfelt beliefs are not shared by all righteous, devout, God loving people. Interestingly as many Catholics as non-Catholics no longer object to abortion on moral grounds. In a 2009 Gallup poll 40% of Catholic responders and 41% of non-Catholics said the procedure was “morally acceptable.” In the same poll 63% said stem cell research was “morally acceptable” to them as Catholics. Applying a “one size fits all” formula to other faiths is equally misleading.
I confess that as a Protestant minister, I do not support the use of abortion outside the need to protect the health of the mother or in cases of rape and incest. I understand the arguments about the sanctity of life though I wish Mr. Wall, et al, would spend as much heart applying them to the death penalty and war. But I also understand the notion of “free-will.” God was intentional in God’s design of human nature to assure each of us has the authority to make choices for ourselves. God’s plan did not include having Mr. Wall and WyWatch make deeply personal choices for us either directly nor indirectly.
It should be troubling to all free people to see a small group of religionists hire lobbyists, solicit campaign contributions, and create lists of legislators to support or defeat with no other motive than to impose their will on those to whom God gave free will. Even more offensive is the effort to burden our premier community celebration with their narrow agenda. The Cheyenne Frontier Days committee made the correct and compassionate choice to use a small amount of their revenue to support the important efforts of the Komen Foundation to find a cure for breast cancer. It is the unfortunate nature of abortion politics that this well intended contribution would be identified by a group of extremists as an opportunity to make the case for their religious views. We have seen this ploy in the health care debate, on issues of foreign policy, public education, and in the effort here in Wyoming to interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.
These folks believe they can gain ground in a 40 year old controversy by driving a wedge wherever they see an opening. The community, to include clergy, should stand up to this kind of blackmail to make sure it stops now.