Friday, 7 November 2008

Lapdog Law & Abortion

I am excited not to be blogging about the US election but things more important but in some senses as spin off. I was talking with L about Obama's policy on abortion. His personal outlook is that it is wrong from a moral and faith perspective but as a political position he understands that each must pursue his own conviction. To criminalise abortion only actually creates criminals, we can look at 1970/80's Eire to know that abortion went underground, women got sick, died and were jailed for living in fear of shame.

I guess it is important that I share where I am coming from, I would love to see a world where every pregnancy and pregnant woman was supported so whole heartedly by society that there was no potential for shame, suffering or loneliness. Yup that is essentially pro-life (very conservative of me eh?) - but it is an acknowledgement that this is a decision that the whole of society must make; it is not about individuals chosing life. It is about community reforming to a point where judgement falls away in the face of love. Not free love but the gritty real love of recognising someone's intrinsic worth beyond the mistakes they make. The gritty of love of living out the commitment to the unborn child that so many profess but when it comes to support of the mother shy away from. I applaud centres which offer all sides of the argument and gather volunteers that say we will stand with you in the hour of your need and I pray that those who walk in open protest at abortion do so in love and not judgement and become part of the solution and not the problem.

I am not for changing the law in the UK or anywhere else at the moment not beacuse I believe that abortion is right but because I think the law is a lapdog. I think it is in "Much Ado About Nothing" that one of Shakespeare's characters says that the law is an ass - it could have been Falstaff in a history play- , for me this works at two levels, the first level is that of a fool. For the scripting it works, the law is an ass and that is the affront to the law which the character wishes to invoke but I think the law is an ass because it is a beast of burden. The law changes nothing, I argued this with L and she sited William Wilberforce's struggle against slavery. Wilberforce pushed through a law that changed the face of a race....or did he? I am not arguing that William Wilberforce's contribution made slavery an abhorrent thing in society, I am arguing that the law was the lapdog to that social change. Wilberforce made himself sick in the pursuit of this counter cultural ideal. He triumphed and the world we know today where Obama has become president owes much to Wilberforce. The law did not change what society did it reflected it, Wilberforce changed society's perception not the law. The law is that beast of burden that carries the aspirations of a society that they might live in a world of moral agreement, not necessarily a state of heightened moral awareness and perfection but perhaps an agreed state of moral decline. Rather bleak eh? I think not i think it put's the challenge on those who care to find constructive ways of changing society and not punitive ones. If the law changes before society does we only create criminals; I think this is the prevalent state of UK politics and law making at the moment and it may reflect the rest of the western world. The law has become arrogant and thought that itself not the ass of burden but a thoroughbred stallion capable of carrying humanity, and we have come to believe it. Rise up the social transformers, that want society to change through love understanding and empathy. Rise up those would have righteous anger like Wilberforce. Those who can deliver a loving rebuke and then cradle those they have rebuked and offer them support and caring in walking out the conviction of that rebuke; stand up! The law IS an ass let us not entrust our future to a beast of burden but take it upon our own hands with integrity, dignity and urgent desire to society healed from within. Let's do it in love and not in judgment, the law brings only judgement.

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