söndag 28 oktober 2012

What should one campaign for?

A friend of mine has been campaigning this weekend for two anti-abortion groups. One of the groups has an in-your-face approach using gory photographs and takes the view that abortion should be illegal under all circumstances. The other group takes a softer line, arguing that because abortion is so widely regarded as acceptable, the best that can be done is to minimise the numbers by persuasion and some tightening of the rules. My friend expressed misgivings about the first group, but another friend argued for the hard line approach when there were proposals recently for a tightening of legislation in the UK. He argued that the amendments should not be supported because this implied support for abortion.

One can see the point in all this, and the opposition always use difficult cases - rape, incest and conditions threatening to the life of the mother - to further the argument for liberal abortion laws.

There is another issue as well, which is that Christians then get accused of being unduly preoccupied with sex and what people do with their bodies. One can understand why this is so - the issues are easy to grasp and people are moved by a natural sense of revulsion - the yuck factor.

However, the church's teaching is about much more than sexual morality, and it would be a good thing if campaigners would look to these wider issues too. Take, for instance, the economy. The recent economic crisis, which is now turning into a chronic disease of economies around the world, could not have happened without usury, the system on which most contemporary economies depends. The bible forbids it. The Catholic church has repeatedly spoken out against it, for example in the Encyclical Vix Pervenit, the very first Papal Encyclical, issued in 1745. Yet how many priests have raised the subject in the pulpit since the crisis arose three years ago? Where are the campaigners? Morality is about more than sexual behaviour. We ought to be more vociferous about the broader range of issues, and more willing to acknowledge our own personal guilt through our participation in the process.

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