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Entry date: 6-27-2022 - Sure, I'm pissed - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Friday’s Supreme Court decision is so baffling to me, yet it makes me realize that many in this nation do not have a soul. It’s missing, I think. Maybe it was never there.

While I like rules, I don’t like being told what to do. This is precarious, often, and when I was younger, I was much better at rationalizing self-destructive decision making than I am now. Maybe that’s why I’ve learned to embrace rules a bit more. I don’t however, condone, the idea of a man telling a woman what she can and can’t do with her body.

Abortion is a tough one.

I used to find great comfort in going to mass, even though I stopped truly considering myself to be a Catholic many, many years ago. I don’t think you can truly be a religious something if you don’t actively practice it and I don’t buy into Catholicism as a culture like one may say being Jewish is cultural as well as spiritual. But I did take comfort, at times, in going to mass.

I liked that it made me feel close to my grandfather, Tom. It was something he did every day of his life, at least the life I shared with him, and I sat in church with him many times. The word communion is an important word. I feel it strongly when I sit in a church, any church for that matter, but there are also things about the church that I just can’t abide by.

I don’t feel today is the time to really dive into that. I do love that it gives others strength and hope for what comes next. I appreciate the community it creates for those who might feel alone, otherwise, and I respect every person’s right to believe what they want to believe when it comes to God, spirituality, or a higher power.

Catholics don’t dig abortion and that’s fine for them. When the priest officiating a mass I might attend gets to that part of the message, I just feel like I shouldn’t be there. I don’t think I have to write this, but I do love children. I am pro-life and pro-choice. I don’t feel it has to be an either/or thing at all.

If you disagree, I respect that and I expect you to respect that I don’t believe the same as you.

That’s the America I thought we had. I thought we were a place where we could have different ideas and still coexist. I fear I am naïve. I fear there are people out there who would want to kill me for expressing my ideas, even though I have shared that I respect their right to disagree.

Friday, though, the Supreme Court of the United States of America decided that women don’t have a say over their bodies anymore and abortion will become illegal this year in many states. This means that women who are facing an unwanted pregnancy will have to result to drastic methods. I am not naïve in thinking this. It is a fact.

Being a man, some might say this is not my fight. They are wrong. I have daughters. I have sons. I am a son and brother, a cousin, a friend, and teacher. I have a voice and, for now, I am allowed to use it. I must speak up because this is not the last right that will be taken away from people in this country.

I also had to make a decision, with a woman I loved, at one point in my life to terminate a pregnancy. This was not an easy decision for either of us and it is something that will occasionally rear its ugly head and put dark, awful thoughts in my brain. I wonder what he or she would have been like and what the world missed out on, sometimes in the dark of night when there are no other thoughts to push these aside.

Even then, though, at that time and place in my life, I never would have considered telling her what we were going to do or what she would or wouldn’t do with her body. That was never a thought for me. I didn’t feel I had some God-given right or moral imperative to speak to her in a way that would have assaulted her character or beliefs.

This is not a plea for sympathy. This is just me sharing something that happened in my life because the powers that were decided it was a woman’s right to decide whether to have an abortion. Now it is up to each state. While states can’t decide gun rights and privileges, they can decide what a person, a human being, can do with their body and an unborn life growing inside of it.

You might pick apart my choice of words. Yes, I did consciously write “life.” I’m not going to dig into semantics, but I do understand science. This is, of all decisions a person might have to make in their life, one of the toughest. To those of you who have also been part of this process, and these terrible conversations, my heart goes out to you sans judgment.

I am scared of what will happen because of the court’s decision. Lives will be lost in dangerous and unnecessary situations that could have, and should have, been avoided. This is another passel of bricks in the wall between church and state coming down.

Just as they recently decided that tax dollars can indeed be used to help fund a child’s education in a private religious school, the court is showing some awfully scary colors. I am not anti-private religious schools, either. I think this is a fine option for people who believe strongly in a non-secular education. I have worked in many over the years as a guest speaker and loved the experience.

But it is a choice to attend these schools.

A choice.

Funny how that word has different meaning now.

See you tomorrow.

For those who deserve it. Please examine the bug bite on my finger while I think mean thoughts about you.

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