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Illustration Courtesy of Teddy Ray
I've had many days that I was incredibly proud to be a United Methodist. Many of those have been after natural disasters struck and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) was, as always, one of the first and most important responders. Other days of pride have come when I was reminded of incredible works of compassion like Imagine No Malaria, which has helped cut in half deaths due to malaria in less than a decade. I was even rather proud today to learn that UMC pastor Adam Hamilton would be preaching at the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service.
And I've had plenty of reservations and frustrations and days when I was embarrassed to be a United Methodist. Watching the catastrophe that was General Conference 2012 was tough. Perhaps best summed up by the tweet, "UMC Judicial Council orders Titanic deck chairs returned to original position." You've seen other disappointments and frustrations in "Why the American UMC is Dying a (Somewhat) Slow Death," "The Stuck State of the UMC," "What does ordination mean?" and "How would John Wesley do bishops' elections?"
But today is probably the day I have been most ashamed to be a United Methodist. The cause for that shame is this joint press release from key representatives for United Methodist Women and the UM General Board of Church and Society.
The press release notes that it comes on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It celebrates years "devoid of unnecessary deaths." It laments that "we continue to face opposition to keeping abortion safe, legal, accessible and rare." It laments rising maternal mortality rates and women who "die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth." It claims to await God's kingdom on earth, "in which all pregnancies are intended." It uses the word justice four times.
Not once does it mention the unnecessary deaths of unborn children that have come at the hands of people whose conveniences, preferences, or lifestyles were threatened far more than their physical well-being. Not once does it lament the deaths of unborn children or suggest further advocacy for them (other than a passing reference to abortion being rare). It suggests that unintended pregnancies would have no part in the kingdom of God, and even implies that abortion would be an appropriate option in those cases.
How in the world can you write a press release chock-full of "justice" and "kingdom of God" and "unnecessary deaths" without ONCE mourning the killing of unborn children?!?
How can you write this press release and use the word "rare" twice in passing without acknowledging how many abortion deaths are due to convenience, not threat to physical well-being?