Just Stop Trying to Make Laws Governing Personal Lives

When I originally wrote this post, it was quite ranty and full of opinions about equality and other unimportant stuff. I don’t want to debate what is and isn’t equal. Instead, I want to talk about this trend of forcing people to follow the opinions or beliefs of others through law.

Maybe it’s wrong to call it a trend. Have religions and organizations always tried to force their opinion through law? Certainly the lobbyist in Washington do that to some extent, but I never thought of those decisions revolving around what people do with their own body or how they choose to live their personal lives.

Laws that dictate people private lives really rub me the wrong way. In order to have my freedom of choice, my freedom of religion, my freedom to marry and my freedom to bodily autonomy, everyone else must be allowed the same. Politics scares me sometimes. It scares me because winning my vote should be easy. Stay out of my vagina (MINE, not yours) and don’t be a bigot. The amount of people who don’t meet that criteria is terrifying. Certainly I should be able to ask more of my politicians.

All that is beside the point (I promised myself there would be no ranting). I don’t like people who try and force people to do something they don’t want to do. By far, it is in the church where I have seen people work the hardest to force their views. It’s not about what the priest or pastor says. It’s about the community. That’s what I find most telling of a church’s values. Do people force, judge and condemn, or do they embrace people for their differences.

I think there are far better, more effective ways of swaying people to see things your way than compulsion. While I see religion behind most of  ridiculous laws that dictate people’s personal lives, I also think religion has the greatest potential to do the exact opposite. I wouldn’t even care if churches promote ideas I disagree with. They can do it in a good and just way. They can do it with love and understanding, values that should be prominent in every religion toward every sinner.

The best example I have of this comes from a church I tried out and decided wasn’t for me (they didn’t observe equal marriage). After a service, they discussed a program they had for single, pregnant women and single mothers. They asked the congregation to donate money, or better yet, stuff. They needed cribs, diapers, high chairs. If I remember correctly, they even wanted volunteers who would be willing to babysit for free.

The idea they were promoting was clear. They were reaching out to scared women with their message to carry their child to term and embrace motherhood. As single women, we can assume they took action this church was against, such as having sex before marriage. I don’t know what these women had to do to receive these services, but my guess is that they didn’t condemn and judge them as they handed out diapers. They didn’t see those women as any better or worse than anyone who was a member of the church. Instead of preaching, they reached out with a helping hand. In doing so, I’m sure they could convince many women who were considering abortion to have their child. I mean, they essentially handed them a support system.

If I would have thought the church was for me, I would have stuck around to ask more questions. What I imagine is the worst of the worst. Say you are a 17 or 18-year-old who has spent the past few months hiding your pregnancy. The biological father is no longer around. Recently, your parents discovered your predicament and kicked you out of the house. You literally have nothing. Maybe, just maybe, that church would reach out and be a support system for you. Maybe that’s their aim. That is something I can get behind. More churches should promote their ideas that way.

We don’t need to condemn people to hell, excommunicate them or create a law banning their choice. I’ve always found the excuse “but it’s a sin” very odd when it comes to the law. If you force someone to accept God, have they really accepted God? If you force someone to do something they don’t want to do, does that make them better in God’s eyes? Does that make you better? I will never understand why certain religious institutions feel the need to force instead of embrace sinners.

Do you think religion has the potential to be more of a positive force? What methods, outside of force and law making, do you think would be an effective way for people to promote their opinions? Do you follow God on Twitter and Facebook? You really should.

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14 thoughts on “Just Stop Trying to Make Laws Governing Personal Lives”

  1. I don’t follow any religion, but I think that’s a good service the church is providing, even for women who wouldn’t have considered abortion as an option. I also think women should have the right to choose, but politicians and insurance companies are successfully chipping away at that right.

    1. I think women have a right to choose as well, but people also have a right to think otherwise. I have no problem with people promoting their views, but they should do it respectfully. That’s why I was impressed with them. Instead of blaming the ‘evil’ women, they address some of the reason why women seek abortions in the hopes that relief from those worries would change their mind.

      1. one of my problems with the pro-choice side of the issue is that I’ve known SO many women who want to keep the baby…..but nobody is there to help them, so they end up choosing abortion. I honestly don’t the average woman ‘wants’ to get an abortion…..but when society is simply not there for pregnant women, and they are essentially ‘all on their own’ it seems like a lot of women are forced into doing something they don’t want to do…….

        that’s why I like the story you’ve shared about that church…….if we as a society would simply be there for pregnant women (whether they are single, married, or in a relationship) I suspect that we wouldn’t even need to outlaw abortion because it would slowly disappear rather naturally……..

        1. That was what my original ranty post was about – women who don’t really want abortions. They’re not all just scared. I’ve read many stories, but one in particular stands out. This married couple had been trying for a very long time to have a child and they were thrilled to find out they were pregnant. As the pregnancy progressed, they found out the fetus had a form of Anencephaly. There was a very slim chance that it would survive after birth if it even manage to survive to full term. After seeing various doctors and doing their research about the condition, they decided the best course of action would be to terminate the pregnancy. They did not make this decision happily because they dearly wanted a child. Given the laws of their state (I forget which), she had to see a doctor and then wait for I believe 24 hours. Then she went back where they shoved a probe inside her and described the fetus in detail – abnormalities and all – as required by law. She had to go through that multiple times and each time she would cry for her child. The nurses would apologize, saying they could lose their job if they didn’t describe the fetus as the law demanded. Eventually, after a lot of time and many traumatizing events, she got her abortion.

          you can think the woman was right or wrong, but it was her decision. If her child was on life support, she’d have the final say. She deserves her finally say here as well and doesn’t deserve to be traumatized by the state.

          I do like the idea of helping women embrace motherhood and removing their fears. I have no problem with that support. Everyone who wants their child should be able to have it. I have my doubts most women who seek abortions do so because they are just scared. Many are poor to the point where they can’t even afford the prenatal care and hospital cost of the pregnancy. Most (over 60%) already have at least one child. Many women have a health condition that puts their life at risk.

          This makes preventing abortion complicated. It involves ending poverty, helping people understand and correctly use contraception and, at the end of the day, allowing a woman to make a choice between her life and the life of the fetus. Literally choosing between two people is never easy, but it’s her choice to make.

          …. Sorry… rant over….

          (p.s. stats I got from here: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html)

  2. This isn’t directly related, but I love sharing this story about religion –
    I tried out a church once that didn’t work out for me (they were telling me that all the money I was spending on fun activities such as going to movies and stuff should go to the church). One service was discussing premarital sex and birth control. The pastor put it in the most common sense way I have ever heard from a church – “If God didn’t want us having sex for fun, he wouldn’t make it feel so good. If God didn’t want us to use birth control and get abortions, he would have stuck the scientists and doctors dead when they created them”.

    Going back to the topic of the blog, I believe that if your religion says not to marry someone of the same sex, don’t do it. If your religion says not to get an abortion, don’t get one. It’s your religion, not mine. Don’t try passing laws that your religion says is wrong. We have religious freedom for that reason. And who’s to say there isn’t a religion out there that says to abort all babies and only marry someone of your gender?! But I’m ranting. I think you get the gist of it 😉

    1. It’s not just religions, though. I read an article on Jezebel.com the other day about an organization in California called “Kids Against Divorce” or something like that. They were trying to get enough signatures to get their law discussed and passed for the state. This law would mandate that all people who want to get married must first attend a class.

      While I have no problem with people promoting the idea that a couple should seek pre-marital counseling before marriage, I don’t think it’s right to force people to do it. It’s their right to get married and it’s their right to do it their way.

      P.S. I do have one thing wrong with those pastors quote. It makes me kind of ranty, but I’ll keep it short. Birth Control does NOT cause abortions. Plan B does NOT cause abortions. There is NO FETUS to abort. They simply prevent the formation of a zygote. That’s it. Read your science books, people.

      Other than that, he made sense… did that church… did that church then not have a problem with abortion?

      1. I could not agree more with not being able to force people. They know themselves and their marriages better than any law makers.

        The church didn’t have a problem with anything, including abortions. It was a strange church though… They were Christian in the sense that they believed in God and the Bible as the holy word. But they gave strange advice, such as if you have an issue open the Bible to any random page and use that to solve it. They never suggested any passages for us to read, just read it.

  3. I just don’t really have time for religion. Of any kind.

    I believe that people should be allowed to worship who they want how they want, or not at all if that’s the case.

    As for my body, it’s my body. When I choose to have an abortion is was the right decision for me at the time. It wasn’t the easy way out and it wasn’t something that I took lightly. I don’t think any woman does. The thought that politicians feel that they can sit there and make decisions on my vagina is preposterous to me. Yet every so often the abortion debate flares up here that causes us all to stand up and protest.

    Thankfully I live in a country where abortions are legal and there is no traumatic evidence needed to be handed over in order to secure one. Yet it is traumatic because the process in order to have one is riddled with doctors, psychologists and let’s not forget the protesters all telling you that you shouldn’t go ahead with it. I think there’s a long way to go, especially in regards to trying offering services without forcing one’s belief’s down another’s throat as was done to me.

    Should women have the option to keep it if that’s what they want? Absolutely. No one should be forced an abortion. Just like no one should be forced for anything else.

    As for the church offering assistance, I think it’s great… my only worry would be that they would expect something in return. But that’s my bias towards organised religion coming to the front.

    I’d love to be able to set up some kind of home/assistance centre for mother’s who are doing it tough. I just need to win the lottery first.

    1. The very idea that an abortion is they ‘easy way’ is just appalling. I don’t even know how somebody thinks that way.

      The other side of the debate seems to think it’s black and white. Either you believe it’s human and deserving of life, or you believe it’s a bunch of cells you can do whatever you want with. I would be willing to be the vast majority of people who have abortions recognize it’s a little bit more than just a clump of cells. But you have to make a decision, and each person should be able to choose what’s right for their life, their family and their future. That’s end. End debate.

      Unfortunately, abortion isn’t the only stupid thing I see getting passed into law. Recently, Chicago passed a law that treats e-cigarettes the same as real ones. A law regulating real cigarettes, which cause cancer and can cause harm from second hand smoke, makes sense to me. It’s an action that infringes on the right to health of those people who don’t want to smoke. But e-cigarettes? Things that release nothing more than odorless water vapor? Why on earth do we need to make a law about that? Certainly there are more important issues to solve.

      1. I know the feeling. My decision was the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life. Ever. Knowing that I might not be able to have another one again. For the politicians to tell me that women use it as the easy way out makes me see red.

        I totally agree, everyone should be free to make their own decision. Whatever that maybe.

        E-cigarettes? Are you for real? What on earth could they make a law about those for? They release steam!!! How is that damaging to people’s health?! My mind just boggled.

        1. Chicago now treats them the exact same as normal ones. So, no using them in public places, inside restaurants, etc. I don’t smoke and I don’t use e-cigarettes, but even I know that’s a law unnecessarily dictating people’s choices.

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