Monday, January 28, 2008

The Product of an Occasional Sleeplessness

It's been a while. I wanted to jot down a few things I've been meaning to jot down, but haven't had the time or disposition to do so. Tonight, after a nap on the couch and an inability to go back to sleep after 2:00 a.m. thinking about writing, I decided to come up here and get back into it.

Here's an update on our parish priest, Fr Al. I had mentioned a few months back that he had been removed from our parish by our diocese because of some charges brought against him about something that happened 50 years ago. I am pleased to report that he has been with us since the first of the year, having had his name cleared. It's something that doesn't make much of a splash in the news: "Priest's good name restored," but it means a great deal to us at OLR at the very least.

I've been following the political scene with some interest. And let me be honest with you: I like Obama. Now, because of his stand on abortion, I won't vote for the man unless he runs against Guiliani. A very pro-abortion voting record, from what I understand. But this man does fill one with a sense of vision and hope - a quite moving rhetorician from what I've experienced. That is, of course, to say very little perhaps, as I've heard Hitler was persuasive as well. Not to compare the two men, but only to show you that I realize that a moving speaker does not necessarily a good leader make.

Furthermore, I do not like, as he said so eloquently after winning handedly in SC, his description of some who use religion as a wedge, by which, I understood him speaking about abortion. Excuse me, Senator Obama, but did MLK use religion as a wedge? Different issue entirely, I understand. MLK was seeking unity. But abortion is an issue, though apparently tiresome for some, that is a non-negotiable. It is, if you'll forgive my metaphor, like the Catholic Church's view on ecumenism with Protestant communities - the only road to full communion with one another involves their crossing the Tiber. Abortion is the same way: The only way toward agreement on this issue is to begin to work toward the dissolution of its support. To look toward its end.

Other than that, and contrary to many in conservative circles, I do like Sen Obama. Perhaps much of my interest in Obama is that I find no one notable in the Republican race. Forgive my harshness.

Last weekend we visited Laura's parents in Virginia Beach. While there we attended a Byzantine Catholic parish, which I've been wanting to do for some time. It was a fascinating and wonderful time. I'd like to write more about it later, but the liturgy, though very different than the Latin rite, was quite beautiful, though completely foreign - chanting, iconostasis, incense (which I've only had the pleasure of experiencing at only one Mass - Midnight Mass in Eaton Rapids, MI - since returning to the Catholic Church). The hospitality we discovered there, however, was nonpareil. Not in the vigorous hand-shaking and plastic smiles ubiquitous in some communities, but in something genuine that simply was - it emanated from them - something difficult to put a finger on, but certainly easily loved. We will be sure to return to this parish whenever we visit Virginia Beach.

Furthermore, the icons - I love the iconography. I wish more Latin-rite churches included them in their parishes, they are our heritage as well. Case in point, in the foyer of the parish was a large icon of Christ crucified. My oldest daughter, Sophie, said to the reader who welcomed us so warmly, that it appeared that Christ had a cut upon his side - something she had never noticed before apparently. The reader, full attention given to my daughter, explained the icon - told the story. And this is one of the many things I so appreciate about iconography. (The same is true, of course, with elements of Latin rite parishes.) Iconography allows pre- and emerging readers to discover and hear the Word proclaimed. It allows them to read the Word without reading. Icons, as it is said, do with color what the Scriptures do with words.


tali said...

sidenote: what power does a president really have over abortion laws? what has bush accomplished?

what if obama's approach doesn't stop abortion by making it illegal, but does encourage a climate where it becomes less "necessary"?

Scott Lyons said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, Tali.

I have some baggage here, so please don't feel as if I'm attacking you. Consider it more a clarification of my feelings about the issue.

First, a president has the power to stop embryonic stem-cell research - to veto any pro-abortion bill, as thankfully Bush has (and I'm no great Bush fan), and has the power to appoint justices if and when the time arises. But you're right, a pro-life president cannot simply resolve the issue.

I've heard this question brought up before: What have conservatives done for life? Is their pro-life platform simply to get the vote of the Christian right? The answer to the first question is, seemingly, not much. And to the second, certainly some do. But those who truly believe in the sanctity of life have, if nothing else, stemmed the tide.

Certainly there are other issues we consider with our candidates - but none of them is comparable, such a holocaust. And I don't bring the charge lightly.

"What if Obama's approach doesn't stop abortion by making it illegal, but does encourage a climate where it becomes less 'necessary'?"

That's a big What If. And if Obama gets elected, we'll see if he produces such an environment. But everything in his voting record suggests that he'll continue as President to pass any legislation that is pro-abortion.

To me, Tali, the issue is discouraging. On one hand, you have years of conservative Presidents (and Congresses) that have done very little, and on the other hand you have people like Clinton who have said, even after scientists have been able make skin cells operate as embryonic stem cells, that she would pass any bill sent to her that would free embryonic stem cell research. Frankly, that kind of position scares me. It doesn't serve to unite anyone, but only further divide. And it is an unnecessary and ruthless view of life.

Obama's play to Christians doesn't consider the weight of this issue for some of us. And anything less than doing whatever he can to eliminate free and unlimited access to abortions makes him a participant in this evil. And I don't want to be a participant with him.

I'm rambling, with kids pulling at my skirts (metaphor, there), so I may be coming across more harshly than I wish. I don't mean to. But the right to kill a child that God has formed in one's womb is a terrible evil that, while electing a conservative president may not do much to overcome, electing a liberal president (when it comes to abortion) certainly will do nothing.

I have five children. In the past two years, my wife has had three miscarriages beside. And our children's deaths in utero have made us understand, though we have always believed in the sanctity of life, how important life is in the womb - not just by not ending it, but also (and forgive my rampant Catholicism) by not doing anything that would prevent such life from beginning.

Other than all of that, I would love to be shown a better way. But those are the things that concern me with the election of a pro-choice candidate. I would love to hear you tackle some of the questions I've raised. I haven't heard a better way. I haven't heard an argument that convinces me otherwise. And I'm listening.

Thanks again for the comment. I appreciate it, and am glad you made it.

Peace be with you. Pray always.