And God said……….

Creation of the Sun and Moon by Michelangelo, ...
Creation of the Sun and Moon by Michelangelo, face detail of God. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A friend’s 3-year-old, I recently read on Facebook, concludes her mealtime/bedtime prayers with “Ah, man.” Her mom thinks it’s rather endearing. I think the kid may be onto something. I just have a feeling that God/Allah/Jehovah/Whomever (and I am quick to admit I believe quite deeply in the one who said we should love one another) is somewhere in cyberspace shaking Her head and saying, “Ah, man.”

I mean, look at the messes we’ve gotten into because somebody knew what God said. You can start with the crusades, but it would be just as easy to start earlier. In any event, today is an exemplary peril.

Take Egypt, for example (since it’s too painful to start with the U.S.) In the August 26th New York Times, David Kirkpatrick and Mayy El Sheikh report on the Egyptian military’s latest move, enlisting Muslim scholars to persuade soldiers and policemen that it’s their religious duty to kill their friends and neighbors who are supporting the recently deposed President Morsi. Why? Because God said to. On the side of the military in this is a televangelist (the U.S., it turns out doesn’t have a corner on televangelists) Amr Khaled who is out there assuring the troops, “You, you conscript in the Egyptian military, you are performing a task for God Almighty!” Ah, man. I have long since lost track of what whose god is telling whom in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and assorted African countries. In China no one seems to be listening to the Buddha, although it was indeed distressing when the monks got angry in Myanmar.

Closer to home, the troubles I am most often confronting these days have to do with what several groups presumably listening to the same (as in, Jesus) God believe that god is saying. “Life begins at conception. Abortion is murder.” What that correct? Or did She actually say, “All you children are made in my image. You may control your own bodies.” Who knows?

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone would quit believing he or she knows exactly what God is saying and started listening instead for the voice of god? I have no theological training, but I’d be willing to bet God isn’t saying “Now remember, abortion is murder.” Or even, “Get out there and perform this task of killing your friends and neighbors.” More likely, She’s somewhere in the ethernet saying, “Ah, man. Could you try to get along?”

Will Anti-Abortionists Sink Health Reform?

Already the right wing, Catholic officialdom and Sarah Palin have won their battle to make sure that I, and countless other millions, will likely die only after expensive, prolonged, futile, aggressive, undesirable treatment rather than peacefully at home as I choose. Now they want the generations younger to be sure that any accidental, criminal or otherwise unplanned pregnancy results in another unwanted child coming into this overpopulated world. An assault on health reform is their latest battleground. I am careful to say Catholic officialdom, because all of the lay Catholics I know, many of them Good Catholics, support both reproductive and end-of-life choice. I am careful to mention Sarah Palin just to prove I have absolutely no resentment over the fact that whereas I can’t interest publishers in my several excellent book projects, she has a planned first run of 1.5 million on her dashed-off memoir.

But back to the problem at hand. Writing in Tuesday’s New York Times, David Kirkpatrick presents the new scary problem:

As if it were not complicated enough, the debate over health care in Congress is becoming a battlefield in the fight over abortion.

Abortion opponents in both the House and the Senate are seeking to block the millions of middle- and lower-income people who might receive federal insurance subsidies to help them buy health coverage from using the money on plans that cover abortion. And the abortion opponents are getting enough support from moderate Democrats that both sides say the outcome is too close to call. Opponents of abortion cite as precedent a 30-year-old ban on the use of taxpayer money to pay for elective abortions.

Abortion-rights supporters say such a restriction would all but eliminate from the marketplace private plans that cover the procedure, pushing women who have such coverage to give it up. Nearly half of those with employer-sponsored health plans now have policies that cover abortion, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Never mind that Obama has promised that no federal funds will go for elective abortions, and the current policies would remain unchanged, here is a handy opportunity to make points with conservatives and throw a monkey wrench into the works of reform.

Lawmakers pushing the abortion restrictions say they feel the momentum is on their side, especially because the restlessness of other Democratic moderates is making every vote count.At least 31 House Democrats have signed various recent letters to the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, urging her to allow a vote on a measure to restrict use of the subsidies to pay for abortion, including 25 who joined more than 100 Republicans on a letter delivered Monday.

Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan, a leading Democratic abortion opponent, said he had commitments from 40 Democrats to block the health care bill unless they have a chance to include the restrictions.

So it’s all about halting abortion — maybe — or all about halting reform — maybe — but some of us who simply, desperately, wish better care and a few decent options for our less-advantaged citizens are left to wonder what it’s really all about.

Abortion Fight Complicates Debate on Health Care – Readers’ Comments – NYTimes.com.