This post has been updated
During the Kerry campaign I encountered a Roman Catholic seminarian protesting the senator's pro-choice position. That same seminarian posted a comment today on my site asking me to justify my position on abortion (which he termed murder) as a Christian. I responded by rejecting the premise of his question. Abortion is not murder and I feel no obligation to justify my Christianity to this seminarian or anyone else based on one single issue. My guess is that he is a faithful Christian and I demand the same respect regardless of any difference we might have on the issue of abortion.
The official Roman Catholic position on abortion is also a faithful attempt to discern God's will on issues of life. Many churches, however, have come to a different conclusion than the Roman Catholic church that are just as faithful. Plenty of Christians are pro-choice.
Click here to read the official pro-choice statements from denominations like the United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church USA, American Baptist Church, and others.
Dana Christensen is the seminarian who wrote me. He has a blog that he used to promote George W. Bush's campaign. Visit it and you'll quickly see a very different theology than the one promoted here. That's just fine. I suspect there are times we can learn from each other if we begin from a place of respect.
No one - not even pro-choice advocates like myself - want abortions to occur. They should be safe, legal and rare. That makes Christensen's support of President Bush ironic. It turns out that abortions have actually increased under Bush's leadership. If you want less abortions we need to return to the social policies of the Clinton / Gore years.
Keep in mind that not all Catholics voted just on the issue of abortion. The Catholic vote was nearly split. Many Catholic leaders also spoke out against those who demanded that Catholics vote on just this one issue. Those good folks deserve our respect and thanks. The majority of religious people in America are pro-choice. Don't be fooled by rhetoric that tells you otherwise.
UPDATE: Here are some resources from the RCRC that might be helpful.
As Christians, who strive to follow Jesus, we can and must be both compassionate and pro-choice.
When we as Jews advocate for reproductive freedom, we are pursuing justice for women and seeking peace among the diverse religious communities of this country.
Remarks delivered by Reverend Carlton W. Veazey, Pres. and CEO, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, at the March for Women’s Lives in Washington, D.C., Sunday, April 25, 2004.
The Reverend Dr. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, former chair of the Coalition board, told the 1 million-plus pro-choice marchers that clergy stand with them—“not in spite of our faith but because of it.”
By Reverend Barbara Gerlach, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington D.C.
For more information visit the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.