26 February 2021

Difficult Choices Facing Parents

At what point is it right for a parent to make decisions that will impact the entirety of their child's future? Though not always the case, men and women often decide whether and when they will become parents. This leads to more decisions about, among other considerations, neighborhoods, schools, work, and churches. What about a name? What about circumcision or baptism? What about vaccinations? So many decisions need to be made, and every one will impact the child's life forever.

These are scary choices when you're "ready" and prepared to make them. Within two weeks of birth, a parent has already chosen their child's name, whether or not to vaccinate, whether or not to circumcise, and whether or not to baptize their child. Sure, they've had nine months to figure it out, and maybe they know the gender, but you might not even know their hair or eye color until the moment they're born. Within eight days of meeting them, a parent will have already made permanent, irreversible, and possibly even harmful choices for their child.

Of course, these decisions start much sooner. We've known for decades now that smoking and drinking during pregnancy can be harmful for the growing fetus; so can stress. This is really the first choice a parent, a mother, a woman makes, whether or not to even have a child.

I have heard so many sermons where a preacher tells his congregation about the "evils" of abortion and the moral failing of women who "choose" it. They compare such women to the women of ancient Canaan who worshiped idols and sacrificed their newborn infants to false gods (Leviticus 18:21, 20:1-5). They completely gloss over that a woman today may be fleeing an abusive husband, masoginistic ex-boyfriend, or even a rapist who would pursue them to the ends of the earth like the dragon in Revelation if he found out he had an "heir." They do not consider the effect a child has on a woman's body and mind. They preach of moral failings and murder from archaic "laws" which Christ never quoted.

What did Jesus have to say about women in desperate situations? How did Jesus treat women with "moral failings?" More importantly, what did he say to their attackers, their pursuers, and the ones who had victimized them? I cannot think of a single scripture where Jesus did not stand up for women, for their rights, for their dignity, where Jesus saw a woman suffering or in need and did not offer help and healing. (Matthew 9:20-22, 15:21-28, Luke 7:11-17, 7:36-50, 10:38-42, 13:10-17, John 4:1-26, 12:1-9)

Is abortion right or wrong? Ultimately, it's the wrong question. The real question is, what are you (or your church) willing to do to support someone in need? Are you willing to provide for their health and well-being, as did the Good Samaritan who not only helped an injured man but provided for his recovery? Are you willing to support someone financially and emotionally as Christ did for his mother by asking John to provide for her? Are you willing to stand between a woman and her attackers as Jesus did for the woman who was accused of adultery and sentenced to to death by stoning? If you aren't willing to stand up and be responsible, to be Jesus for someone in need, then you have no right to impose your morals on them. A mother's right to make choices for her child starts on day one, even before there is a child, even before she is a mother. Circumcision, vaccinations, even names can be harmful to a child, it is still a mother's right to make these choices, and more.

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