Let me put my cards on the table. I agree 100% with the official United Methodist stance on abortion. You can read the full text here, but let me highlight some of the most important aspects of our official stance:
Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion.
But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child.
We recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion, and in such cases we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures by certified medical providers. We support parental, guardian, or other responsible adult notification and consent before abortions can be performed on girls who have not yet reached the age of legal adulthood. We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection or eugenics.
Two things jump out at me almost immediately when I read these excerpts:
- We believe in the sanctity of unborn human life.
- Our approval of abortion is intrinsically connected to the concern for the mother.
We even go on to say that “We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control.” The answer behind 92% of women surveyed in 2004 about why they were getting an abortion was birth control. The United Methodist Church is not a blanket “pro-choice” denomination. We allow for abortion in extreme circumstances with which most pro-life people would agree.
So when the Director of Civil and Human Rights at the General Board of Church and Society decides to be funny on a day filled with emotions around the issue of abortion, it makes me upset. His apology is that it was meant to be a joke, but i don’t know if that makes it any better. Is this an issue to be humorous about?
Maybe I should reveal another card. I don’t think abortion is funny because my wife and I cannot have biological children; so, we have been foster/adoptive parents for two years. We have seen unwanted children; we want them to know that they are wanted. There is nothing funny about unwanted children. Thousands of children are in the system today because they are unwanted, but there is a growing number of us who want these children to know that they are loved and that they are wanted. Everyone I know who is a foster/adoptive parent would tell you that they are pro-life. We put our money where our mouth is every single day. We believe that all babies and children need and deserve a loving home. They should be allowed civil and human rights too! We can never affirm abortion as a means of birth control.
Want to know something really ironic? People who are foster/adoptive parents are Republicans and Democrats, Christian and non-Christian, gay and straight, rich and poor, black and white. We became foster/adoptive parents thanks to a lesbian couple who were members of my church. Being pro-life is an issue for many us foster/adoptive parents that bridges a lot of different divides that we have in the church today.
And nothing about abortion is funny.