Ladies for Life

When you elevate abortion to a blessing…

Posted on: April 2, 2009

… you get some blood-curdling ‘theology’. God help us.

From Damian Thompson, writing in the Telegraph in the UK:

The new Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massacusetts, has given a sermon describing abortions as a “blessing” for the women who undergo them. The Rev Katherine Hancock Ragsdale also thinks that the people who run abortion clinics are “heroes” and even “saints”.

Ms Ragsdale, speaking in Birmingham, Alabama, said that “when a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to a safe, affordable abortion – there is not a tragedy in sight – only blessing.”

Here is the full text of her sermon. Do not, please, make the mistake of assuming that she is an unrepresentative extremist: liberal Anglicans in America are among the most fervent supporters of abortion in the world, outstripping even atheists in their enthusiasm for this gruesome procedure. Over to you, Ms Ragsdale:

[full Thompson column here]

Uhm. I almost wish now that I hadn’t thrown away a Lectionary study guide for pastors that came into our bookstore years ago as a trade-in, because right now, it would be useful, I think, to quote from it directly (this bordering on the unbelievable, I’m sure, if you’re not familiar with the issue). When I settled in to read some of it before putting it out for sale, at first I was confused, and then I was appalled. Again and again it stressed that a minister should not get too involved in, or concerned with, what I believe the author called Christology, because that got in the way of the true purposes of church (in the author’s lights), which were to make people feel better about themselves, and to get everyone together on the same page when it came to social issues. I wish I could remember exactly how the author put it, but I remember it made my jaw drop, and that I looked at the author bio to see if it could explain why Christ was – in a book for clergy! – being relegated to dusty history (only being trotted out when certain of his teachings could be used out of context to make people feel better about themselves, or more excited about the cause du jour), and the church was being morphed into… whatever it is that a church becomes when it abandons Scripture, and looks down its nose at calls to holiness. The author was a professor at an Episcopal seminary. Uhm. The whole, messy Episcopalian split from the Anglican Communion has made a great deal of sense to me in the wake of seeing that book. (The worldwide Anglican Communion is committed to serving the living, risen Christ, who calls sinners to repentence and salvation. The ‘liberals’ in the church have a tendency to embrace the ‘historical Jesus’ model. For example, a recent book by two Episcopal priests, that was touted in a journal for booksellers that came to me, championed the idea that people should ‘move past the Western tradition of Jesus as Savior, and embrace him as a wisdom teacher.’ In other words, he’s not God, but he came up with some nifty quotes to live by.) After weighing the matter some, I tossed the ‘how to teach the Lectionary while ignoring what Scripture says’ book in the trash instead of putting it out for sale. I’m all too aware that there were times in my life when I wouldn’t have understood that there was anything wrong with its contents. I hated to think that I’d be a party to misleading someone else, by selling it.

So, anyway, with one thing and another, I thought I was to the point that I could no longer be surprised by anything coming out of the ranks of the Episcopal leadership. But I have to admit that Ragsdale’s ‘sermon’ was beyond what I have come to expect, and it saddens me and sickens me, all the more so because, in it,  she is cheerleading the effort to drive pro-life medical providers out of business, while blessing murder in the name of ‘freeing’ women to embrace the bankrupt, selfish, and ruthless notion that “[t]he ability to enjoy God’s good gift of sexuality without compromising one’s education, life’s work, or ability to put to use God’s gifts and call is simply blessing.”

I wouldn’t want to bet my soul on it.

Anyway, ladies, one of our biggest challenges is that the language and superficial trappings of religion have been hijacked by people who see nothing wrong with sacrificing children to the idols of education and career and other worldly interests. Somehow, we must make ourselves clear despite the disinformation, without resorting to tactics or attitudes that would bring disrepute on ourselves or the God to whom we all must answer at the end of the day. I’m always open to suggestions, advice, and steers toward good role models on this sort of thing.

hat tip: Alliance Alert

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