God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

Roe v. Wade – unfiltered thoughts…

Newspaper announcing the 1973 decision

The Republican Party, the right-wingers and those deeply entrenched in a specific way of thinking are jubilant – and my Roman-Catholic Church officially lauds the decision: “The fact that a large country with a long democratic tradition has changed its position on this issue also challenges the whole world”

I am holding my breath – and no, I am not convinced that a large country with a long democratic tradition has changed its position. Polls tell the opposite.

Obviously, the world would be a better place without abortion – but also without unwanted pregnancies and with programs supporting single moms and difficult social situations. We all know, that this is not happening; that there is a lot of lip service.

Secondly, this is not a decision born out of democracy: It is an almost fascist takeover of a democratic institution essential for justice served in a democratic society. The USA has lost since Donald Trump many facets of a functioning democratic system. Radical white evangelical fundamentalists have taken over the reins at the Supreme Court and forcing their ill convictions onto society. Candidates for the Supreme Court bend the truth under questioning in their confirmation hearing – one could also say there were lies and deceit in the run-up to confirmation. We also heard about sexual harassment and more by one of the now elected judges – and we know that Mich McConnell abused the system to avoid an Obama proposed candidate. Politics instead of justice as a matter of fact.

No, the end never justifies the means – and the hijacking of the American democratic experiment by white macho evangelical and Catholic hardliners is one of the greatest dangers to Democratic means in the USA; it is a great danger to long fought for liberties and civil rights. Fake news, lies and outright criminal activities against the laws of democracy as the hearings in Washington bring to light cannot be the base of a juridical decision of the highest court of the land.

I can’t and I will not celebrate an attack on the values of democracy. I am appalled to know that the reality is that poor women will bear the brunt and consequences of this decision – there will be illegal and dangerous options with deadly consequences. The writing is on the wall – see Alito and Thomas opinions – that other basic rights will be on the chopping block in the future.

Abortion is in civil societies a much debated issue – and obviously the sanctity of life is at stake. But so is the sanctity of life attacked by the death penalty, by wars and certainly by current gun laws. The obvious schizophrenia of evangelical fundamentalists to pick what is convenient and to ignore or even promote the opposite of the rest is breathtaking.

Once again: The end never justifies the means – celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision is ill-advised. It brings more chaos and more division to society; and more danger towards the democratic institutions in the USA. It will also cost lives.
Obviously, religious institutions and faith based groups can and should have an opinion and also participate in the public debate. But there are rules and ethics when it comes to how decisions in a democratic system are made.

If we are honest, we all have to admit: abortion will not disappear by a court decision, but by an openness of society to discuss sexuality, by means of avoiding pregnancy and by politics supporting children, single parents and families. All things, religious fundamentalists and evangelical hardliner, but also organized religion are not known for to put into practice.

Convincing people in a democracy to do the right thing (whatever that is…) is always a process of words and deeds, but also carries the freedom of those we try to convince to say “no”. We people of faith are part of this process, but in my humble view we can never support supreme decisions which are based on lies, deceit, political gambling and hardly covered intentions born out of private religious fundamentalist convictions.

The decision in the matter Roe v Wade is at the end a dis-service to the aim to avoid unwanted pregnancies and to acknowledge realities; it will polarize and militarize those in favor or against it, and it brings in disrepute the standing of one of the most important institutions in a democracy. And the victims in all this are at the end again: women.

Filed under: Catholic Church, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

DOMA ruling and the Catholic Church

Much is written and spoken about the ruling of the US American Supreme Court from this week regarding the question of “Defense of Marriage Act” and a question related to a vote in California. With amazement I have seen the reactions as expected by people and supporters for or against the so-called “gay marriage”.  As somebody who does not like the phrase “gay marriage’ as it confuses terminology for most people, I was tempted to write an article why I think the church has lost its battle against equality on the state’s terrain defining marriage and it’s benefits. And why the church should stop fighting an already  lost war but concentrate on its portfolio and support functional families as much as she can. Then I came across the National Catholic Reporter and an OP of Michael Sean Winters named “Marriage, the church and the Supreme Court”.

It is a very honest analysis of the situation and consequences of the ruling and starts like this:

“The Supreme Court’s twin decisions in the battle over same-sex marriage on Wednesday were momentous, to be sure. But Wednesday was not “tragic,” as the statement from the USCCB stated. Nor were the court’s decisions victories in what Harvey Milk’s nephew unfortunately termed the “defining civil right issue of our time,” a claim that was downright offensive coming within 24 hours of the Supreme Court’s far more objectionable decision to gut the Voting Rights Act. Turns out, old-style civil rights remains the defining civil rights issue of our time. In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, “The state’s power in defining marriage is of central relevance to this case.” Indeed. And there is the rub for me. I do not understand why some people, including some bishops, are all worked up about same-sex marriage when the fact that the state, not the church, has the power to define civil marriage is well-established in American legal culture, and it was so long before anyone ever talked about gay marriage…”

For me the piece gives some insight in US American thinking, in US American Catholic thinking and it inspires to think deeper about the challenges behind the obvious battle of minds, one sees first. And so I do provide the link to the whole article and hope, that this inspires people new to think about the question, not along the usual “party lines” for or against it. There is nothing in this world only black or only white – but many shades of grey are involved. Let’s look at these and find ways not to go over board in fighting each other but finding common grounds like the happiness of people, like the love and commitment of people, the exclusivity of a relationship, which by the way when it comes to HIV and AIDS is of great importance for the containment of the virus.

Who is interested into church life in Germany has surely followed the publication of the Lutheran Church in our days also about marriage and it’s definition. As for a Luther the marriage is a non – sacramental issue, obviously the sister church in Germany comes to complete different assessments about values of this issue. The debate is on, and one has to find the common grounds but also the parts, where parties defining society differ in their approach to the topic of marriage.

The link: Marriage, the church and the Supreme Court – NCR

Enjoy reading!

Filed under: Catholic Church, HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, Politics and Society, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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