Tuesday, September 2, 2008

An Open Letter to Timothy Shriver & The Washington Post

This is a response to an article posted online by Timothy Shriver, entitled "Palin's Choice: Pro Trig." It was published online September 2, 2008, on washingtonpost.com.

You see, Tim, here's the thing... Once you utter the word "choice" you've effectively ended any further discussion. You either support the right of women to make their own choices in every area of their life, supported by the law, that self-same "Wholly ineffective strategy for promoting life," or you support the right of the over-arching majority to choose for them.

Sarah Palin's choice to have her son is her choice. It is not open for any further debate or interpretation by any medium, secular or non. This nation is a nation of laws, and to post an article in which the underlying foundation of U.S. case law can be dismissed because the laws do not support a particular religious point of view is an outrage, and indeed cries shame on the Washington Post.

Yes, I realize that you qualified your statement by prefacing it with "In the abortion debate..." However, this kind of thinking could easily be applied to any type of debate. Either the law is used to provide redress of grievances or it is not. You don't get to pontificate on which areas of the law are ineffective based on how it affects you personally. I would venture to say that in the abortion debate, the law has proved a wholly effective strategy for promoting the lives of women and men who chose to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

In further reading of your proposition (I hesitate to call it an article), you state that "Trig could be a high-profile example of how wonderful it can be to choose life, even in adversity." Why is this statement also qualified? "Trig could..." or "...how wonderful it can be to choose life..." are elements that certainly make me think that even you don't believe what you're selling. Isn't it obvious that life can be wonderful? And also, that life can be awful, an extended trial in adversity for some? Palin does not necessarily elucidate the complexities of life with her choice; it is merely her choice. One guaranteed by the law that you see fit to dismiss so easily.

One last thing... Your byline reads "Re-thinking, Re-feeling and Reviving Faith." I always wonder why people of faith, that is, people who believe in a "Higher Power" and simultaneously believe in a man-made dogma regarding said "Higher Power," why it is that such people believe that they have any right at all to discuss their religion or faith with ANYONE? True faith connects your inner self with your creator. Yours. Where is it written that one god can suffice for the many? Each of us must find god on our own, whether we attend church or synagogue or mosque regularly, or even if we can not spell the word god. God is connected to us through the experiences of common sense, and no other man can or should ever presume to lecture us on our life choices based on his interpretation of an overarching non-secular hierarchy. And by the way, I know I opened a large door by asking "where is it written," but since every religious text was written by men, and a few women, I'm sure that I am still on terra firma. No one knows the mind, beliefs, or purpose of god. Stop trying to.

You presume to know that god's love is perfect. "After all, the conditions are never perfect, but the promise of a newborn baby is that god's love is." Did god have a conversation with you and let you know that god's love is perfect? How do you justify this statement without introducing your personal belief about god's love? With the benefit of hindsight, don't tell me that there aren't at least a thousand ruthless and bloody warlords from the time of prehistory right up until the present day that mankind in general could have done without. I won't name any names, just consider our world history and the periods of history rife with mass murder. Warmongers that priests and popes have condemned to "burn in hellfire," such evil have they perpetrated. When they were newborns, were they also the promise of god's perfect love? Let us not be so naive as that. Life can be good and life can be evil, and life can be every thing in between. What other pronouncements can be set in stone? Or type?

The world entire is a result of choice. Choice is all that distinguishes us fully from inanimate forms of life. Who is born and who is not, who is executed and who spends life in prison, who incites war and who sues for peace... The results inform our world and our society. If you do not believe in abortion, that is your choice. Don't confuse that ability to choose with anything other than a right secured for you by the blood, sweat, and toil of ancestors long dead.

You close with "...let's also agree that the best choice is life." Where do you weigh in on the other facets of that statement, I wonder? Are you for or against the death penalty? Do you believe in war? Would you turn the other cheek in any and every instance? You see, abortion is just the tip of the discussions, not the root as evangelicals in particular seem to believe. Protecting and preserving life, specifically human life, should start with the protection and preservation of those citizens who are alive! You want to talk about abortion, fine. But continue the debate into all areas of societal life and address the violence that surrounds even the most peaceful of citizens. The "Choose Life" argument is a simplistic one that rings hollow in a nation unerringly set on a course for continual war.

As a final note, I wonder where the millions of "lower" animals slaughtered for food and clothing every day fit into your "Choose Life" philosophy?

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