Responding to LifeLink’s demonstration

Religious activists need to stop caring about sex

I’m sure by now that everyone saw or heard about the demonstration in the quad last Thursday. Laurier LifeLink, a Students’ Union club, put little pink and blue flags all over the grass in the quad. Each flag is supposed to represent ten fetuses that were aborted in the past year.

If you believe, as the president of Laurier LifeLink does, that this was just little flags, please remember what those flags mean. Each flag represents ten abortions, all lined in a visual display to mourn. To any person who has had an abortion, supports the legality of abortion, provides abortions or knows someone who does, these little flags are a graveyard and the organizers are accusing them of murder.

Do not pretend that this supposedly non-violent display is anything other than a violent accusation to anyone who supports the legality of abortion.

I’m sick of this. I’m sick to death of religious people doing this kind of crap. I’m sick of religious people trying to force their morals on the rest of society. I’m sick of religious conservatives thinking that the government should get out of their kids’ sex education, butt into their decisions about marriage, adoption, and abortion.

Not only am I religious, I’m a candidate for ministry in the largest protestant denomination in Canada. I’m sick of the people with whom I share a God being so incredibly disrespectful and dangerous in their politics.

Don’t believe me that this crap is dangerous? Take a look at the final presidential debate and, more generally, at the political climate in the United States. We pretend that the difference between Democrats and Republicans has something to do with the size of government, taxes and healthcare.

Frankly, I call bullshit. Since Roe V Wade in 1973, the conservative evangelical movement in the United States has become inescapably tied to the issue of abortion. It doesn’t matter if the Republican nominee for president is an irresponsible racist, sexist, homophobic demagogue; he’s pro-life and that’s all that matters. If he gets his hands on the nuclear codes and one day just feels like nuking the Middle East? Well, at least we’ll have our fetuses.

It goes deeper than that, all the way to the fundamental problem of contemporary politics. When we get trapped on abortion and gay marriage, the government policies that have worldwide consequences like global warming, disarmament, trade and health care get ignored.

They become secondary to these grand moral issues that the government shouldn’t be involved in, in the first place. Religious voters that are completely pro-life don’t seem to care about the other issues, repeating en masse the policy proposals their politicians make. You don’t see the same kind of ground up, grassroots policy proposals you get on the progressive side of the aisle.

Liberals don’t care about abortion or gay marriage other than to say that these issues are settled and we should move on. Conservatives get so trapped up in those issues that debates about other issues rarely get down to the grassroots. It’s why tea party conservatives in the States sound completely and utterly deluded and uninformed. It’s why they buy into the lies and slander of Donald Trump. If the guy at the top says it and he’s pro-life, then it’s got to be true, right?

If you think this is an American only problem, look to the Conservative Party of Canada since Stephen Harper left.

There are two leadership candidates who are suggesting bringing the pro-life, anti-gay debate back to the forefront of our politics. The first Conservative Party leadership debate is coming in a few weeks and for the first time in a long time, there is going to be a debate where one candidate is saying that abortion should be outlawed and gay marriage should be banned. This is dangerous stuff.

A few years ago, a friend of mine found out she was pregnant and asked me if I thought she should get an abortion. I told her it was her choice. She then asked me again what I thought she should do; she asked what my advice for her was if I were in her position. My answer to that was that I’m pro-life on a personal level and find abortion to be a tragic reality.

But what did I say? I repeated my first answer again: it is her choice because it is her body. In terms of public policy and law, I am pro-choice. There should be no government regulations on abortion and it should be fully accessible to those who need it. Full stop.

If, God willing, I am ordained in the future and I get that kind of question again, I will give the same answer. If I hear a pastor preaching in their church about the tragedy of abortion, I don’t have a problem with that, as long as they are not shaming women who do get abortions.

The longer this issue (and other issues regarding the personal choices that people make about their bodies) stay up for debate in the legislative process, the longer it will take for us to progress as a society on the issues that impact every human being on the planet.

I’m done coddling these issues on the basis of free speech. On a governmental level, these issues should be settled for good.

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