Note: The contents of this post may be offensive to some readers. My apologies in advance for any offense caused. I would welcome other perspectives, but ask that all commenters, whatever their viewpoint, frame their views as respectfully as possible to others. Thank you.
So we walk into the roller rink for "7-and-under skate" this morning and the first thing I see, on a mom I don't know, is this red t-shirt with large white letters on the back proclaiming, "If you're pro-abortion you CAN"T be a Catholic."
First of all, I'm glad my seven-and-under offspring can't read that well, and don't exhibit the intellectual curiosity to ask what "pro-abortion" means.
Second of all, I don't know that the assertion of the t-shirt is completely true. I know the Roman Catholic Church condemns abortion, and I know that ideally all members of a church would concur with all the church's teachings. But must you, in reality, agree with every last one of the church's teachings, questioning nothing, in order to be a member? I'm not sure how far afield you'd have to go in any church before you'd be excommunicated. Knock over a convenience store? Support the right to abortion? Have an abortion? Have serial abortions? Molest an altar boy?
And what if you sincerely repented of whatever sin you did commit? Not just said, "Oops, sorry," but prayerfully and thoughtfully repented, asked God's guidance and help not to sin again? Would God forgive you? The Bible seems to say so. Does the Church have a right not to forgive, to say, "you CAN"T be one of us," if Christ himself wouldn't say that?
Third of all, I'm an Orthodox Christian, and my church's position on abortion is the same as that of the Roman Catholic church. I don't think abortion is a good idea. I do think it results in the termination of a life. I wish nobody ever had one. But I've known a number of women who've had abortions, and all of them were in fairly desperate straits. None of them thought abortion was a good idea, either, as far as I know, but it was the only idea they could come up with. And I can't in good conscience say that if I'd been in their shoes, that I would have come up with a better one. And I don't think the government should be making those decisions about women and their bodies. I'm sorry, I just don't. I think that makes me pro-choice, but in the eyes of our t-shirt wearer, I'm pretty sure it makes me pro-abortion. And if I am, does that mean I can't be Orthodox anymore?
Fourth of all, it really pissed me off that the message was on the back of the t-shirt. I found that cowardly. If you feel strongly enough about your message to have it printed in two-inch letters, put it on the front of your shirt, in effect saying it to my face.
Every time I passed that woman this morning, the presumptions of her t-shirt really got on my nerves. How dare she, or whatever group had the shirts printed up, presume to tell people they CAN'T be Catholic? How dare she?
Finally, I could take it no longer, and muttered under my breath as I passed, "Oh, yeah, lady. Jesus just loves judgmental people."
Um, yeah, the words weren't completely out of my mouth before the irony slapped me in the face like a cold wet fish.