Happy Monday, Friends!
“The Bible is a puzzle to be solved, not a message to be proclaimed.” I heard this statement in a TikTok video last week and it has been swirling around in my head ever since. I imagine most of us were raised to see the Bible as a message and the Gospels as the Good News. But what if the Bible is a puzzle that we are meant to wrestle with, decipher, and find a place for in the context of our lives? What if the Bible is a Socratic and experiential teacher and not a set of tenets to be memorized?
A leaked opinion this week in the US Supreme Court’s consideration of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization caused many Christians to go back to their Bibles and to fundamental questions about life, when life begins, and the nature of bodily autonomy. My opinion on abortion—and the opinions of all cisgender men—is completely irrelevant for two reasons. First, we can’t become pregnant. Second, if cisgender men were responsible for bearing children humanity would have gone extinct 10,000 years ago.
That said, the people who argue most and call themselves pro-life are hardly pro-life. A consistent ethic of life is far broader and more encompassing than abortion. A true pro-life stance includes support for all the following points and more:
Single-payer health care for all people living in the United States regardless of immigration status
Guaranteed maternal and paternal leave of at least six months with full salary and benefits
Sex-positive, comprehensive, and scientific sexual education for all students in both public and private schools
A true living wage for all people
Universal basic income for all people making below an equitably determined amount
A robust welfare system without work requirements
National rapid transit utilizing environmentally friendly fuels
Ending the failed “war on drugs” and decriminalizing all narcotics
Reforming the bail system in the United States and ending the school-to-prison pipeline
Strict controls on the sale and purchase of firearms including a ban on assault rifles
Training for all police officers in de-escalation strategies and removing lethal options from standard police gear
Abolishing the death penalty at all levels
The issue of pro-life or pro-choice is a false dichotomy; the issue is far from that simple. Rather than appeal to a message or the teachings with which we were raised, we need to look critically at this issue from multiple perspectives. Like the Bible, this issue is a puzzle, a puzzle that needs to be solved, but through understanding and comprehensive, people-first solutions.
Where do you stand on the topic of abortion? Pro-life? What has been coming up for you this week since the release of the Court’s opinion?
Let us pray: God, issues of life and autonomy are enflaming our social and political discourse, often bringing out the worse in many people. Give us grace to disagree respectfully and solve the puzzle of this and other issues with restraint and dignity. We ask this through your son who was born one like us. Amen.
Blessings, friends, on your week! Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.