Friday, April 30, 2010

A Civilized Discussion

I've been thinking lately about how a lot of liberal people accuse religious people of being narrow minded and just following along with what they're told.  Although this can sometimes be the case, I think it's important for everyone, regardless of our political or religious leanings, to check ourselves and make sure we aren't just following along.

Liberal ideas about gay marriage and abortion are popular right now, especially with young people.  And I really believe that's great - people should always be fighting for human rights and social equality.  The problem is, that sometimes we can get caught up in popular opinion without thinking through our positions carefully first.

My example here is my position on abortion.  I guess I got the impression that most liberal people thought all abortion was okay.  Now, I don't know if that's really the case, but I kind of just went along with it for a while.  But when I stopped and thought about it really deeply, I realized it wasn't quite as cut and dry as I had been thinking.

I am a strong believer in women's rights.  It is a passion of mine.  I think women should have the right to decide when and if they get pregnant and have a child.  I also believe in more comprehensive sex education, advances in birth control, adoption, and just not being a promiscuous person.  But what if a woman is raped?  What if her life is threatened by the baby?  What if another problem like these arises and she just needs other options?  She should have the right to decide when or if she will have a child and the right not to be forced into the role of mother by society.

On the other hand, we are responsible for protecting the lives of all human beings.  Where is the line here?  No one knows, and we should all keep that in mind.  There really isn't an answer.  I'm tired of people saying they have all the answers because it shuts down communication, healthy debate, and the quest for real answers to this problem.

The current cut off for abortions at 22 weeks - which is the age at which a fetus could survive outside of the womb on its own - seems like a reasonable solution.  But lets not let party lines or pre-set moral guidelines determine the answers to these questions.  Let's think for ourselves and not be afraid to think outside of the boxes we put ourselves in.  Christians, dare to consider abortion as a valid solution.  Liberals, dare to mull over the implications of abortion on the human right to life.

If I could say one thing tonight, it would be to think for yourself.  Let go of all the things that tie you to a certain way of thinking or a certain belief system.  And just listen to your own voice.  Listen to what it's saying.  Not a god or a politician, an old book or a liberal talk show host (or for that matter, a conservative one).  Just think for yourself.  Consider all sides of the issue.  Consider our right to life, our right to choose, our right to love freely, our responsibility for those who cannot care for themselves.  And lets start a real dialogue.  Not one marred by dogma or prejudice or hatred or close-mindedness.  But an honest discussion of what we can do as humans together to solve this common problem.  Because it is a common problem.  And we all need to be present in this discussion in order to come to a real solution that works for everyone.  Let the discussion begin!

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