Archive for May, 2009

not simple

May 31, 2009

The murder today of Dr. George Tiller prompts me to speak on the abortion issue. Having just finished reading Michelle Goldberg’s The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the future of the World I know how opinions can shift from one phase of a persons life to another. I recall watching the movies Alfie and the The Cardinal many years back and being mindful of the depth of the issue. Yet I have persistently felt it is a much more complex consideration than the political right wants to admit. As a male I feel I have limited rights to speak emphatically.
Jesus was a great example for women’s rights, for in an age when they were either ignored or treated as virtual slaves he spoke out against divorce and was persistent in recognizing women. He counseled the woman at the well, he indulged and emphatically included Mary and Martha in his circle of intimates. He protected the woman about to be stoned for her indiscretions. He defied the establishment and its rules. Women were movers and shakers in the early church which might have never grown had it not been for them. For all of Paul’s biases we cannot ignore the women’s liberation early Christianity provoked. Mohammed too challenged the female infanticide occurring in his times.

In ancient Greek/Roman cultures siliphion/silphium was harvested to extinction as an abortion herb.  In Appalachian folk culture Queen Anne’s Lace was made into a tea for teen girls, probably to help avert unwanted pregnancies. (see John M. Riddle’s book Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance)
Biblical times were very different from today. Medical science has brought elements to the human health and body never imagined even a few decades ago. While medicine has a tradition of sanctity of life, everyone can witness to the bizarre possibilities of extended life as well as to the mercy in “pulling the plug.” The shades of gray in when life begins and ends are presently a labyrinth of genetics, chemistry, artificial organs, etc. Test tube babies (the womb with a view) are nearly as common as Aldous Huxley ever dreamed. Surrogate mothers and “octo-mom” have occupied the attention of attorneys and media ad infinitum. The potential of medical science to provide all sorts of cures through stem cells is astonishing and not to be ignored.
While I adore babies and believe abortion is a choice to consider with only the most careful sober meditation, I think it is more than a simple issue that can be dismissed as never permissible. There are so many considerations for the health of the mother, who may already have numerous children for whom to care. In many cultures husbands expect &/or coerce their wives’ sexual subservience (discussed in Goldberg’s book). It is not a simple issue as some right wingers declare that the “bitches need to keep their legs crossed”.
I tire of seeing antiabortion bumper stickers all over a car with no baby-seats. There are families that adopt handicapped babies and adopt babies of another race. There are also ranting extremists who say there is no instance acceptable for abortion but turn around and fume over welfare costs. Opposing abortion means, in my opinion, being delighted to provide largesse to the born children who need our attention through welfare and CHIPS, etc. If one opposes abortion totally then Moses laws and child care programs are essential. Loving the born is every bit as morally imperative as loving the sacred zygote, if that what it boils down to.
All too often men like Randall Terry write or speak too glibly of family values. One has to wonder if James Dobson’s transition from usually wrong to always wrong on abortion was prompted by personal or political meditations (read James Dobson’s War on America by Gil Alexander-Moegerle). Judging others (as my blog name Moteeye implies) is a slippery slope.
My main point being that the issue of abortion is not a simplistic black/white thing. Never is not an appropriate term to apply. And murdering George Tiller is not the way to address the concerns.

Sensitivity

May 29, 2009

Today in the London Daily Telegraph Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent, revealed that the NY group Human Rights Watch had demanded release of photographs from Abu Ghraib prison abuse showing rape and other sexually explicit tortures. Several internet news sites such as The Daily Beast and Common Dreams have distributed the story. I was as incensed as anyone when Abu Ghraib was exposed back in 2004. Those who reported/blew the whistle are to be commended, although some like Joseph Darby were vilified in their own hometowns. Increasingly we are aware that this abuse was encouraged from very high levels. The world was justifiably aghast and the Muslim world infuriated. Our values were called into question around the globe, while many right wing jingoists in the U.S. ranted on beheadings with a vengeance unbecoming the presumed Christian values of their locales. The latest scandal is over President Barack Obama’s decision not to release further photographs. I appreciate the concern that Allied troops will be vulnerable to renewed violence and resentments when in most cases they have no direct involvement in the excesses of the Charles Graners and Lynndie Englands. We need to move on from this sad episode. Unfortunately Washington chooses to deride the credibility of the London Press. It would be advisable to acknowledge that there are horrid & unsavory episodes not fully discussed or apologized for. It would also be best if the feelings of the Muslim world were spared any further trauma. Let’s just admit bad behavior, apologize and progress to more positive efforts. Many may see this as sweeping the facts under the carpet, but the obscenities of war are forever part of why we seek Peace and why unilateral unnecessary war must be avoided by future POTUS.


Hug em

May 29, 2009

Only a few years back the slogan, sponsored by state troopers or Moms Against Weed, was “Hugs Not Drugs”. Now NBC Nightly news has a feature on some schools banning or restricting hugs.
What’s up with that?
More importantly who’s behind this? Rush Limbaugh? Maggie Gallagher? Ayatollah Khamani? I mean sheeesh, even Queen Victoria would guffaw at the prudish anti embrace issues. What the world needs now…………. is hugs, for God’s sake!
Cuddle toys just don’t satisfy. You’re not allowed to take your kitten to school. You’re told you need friends. Even one good friend can help discourage the bullies and cynics. So what’s wrong with hugs?
Oh, wait a minute. They’re setting time limits. Must be that scintillating where’s that hand thing? (hand in hand, then gland in hand; can’t have that)
And I’ll bet our showing affection gets connected to the guys shouldn’t hug guys nor girls hug girls. Maybe it’s more than friends ??!!
Well it’s all BS!!! Less hate, less violence, less meanness etc. and the world is a better place. So I say, more hugs. Michelle & Elizabeth II, you said it all!
Friends forever.