I am not much of a political person. Most of my personal political energy has been spent in a far different arena, that of trying to preserve my profession (midwife) from attack. I've fought for the rights of women to have the birth that God intended, I've fought to protect them and their babies from conception on, I've fought for the right to give care that I know is safe and humane. Along the way, I've had to learn a lot about law, medicine, medical ethics and a whole bunch of other stuff that I initially thought was irrelevant to providing safe and compassionate midwifery care.
I learned about civil disobedience from other midwives, including the two who attended the births of my two middle children. In attending my births, they were breaking the laws of the state of California, which at that time forbade any but a licensed physician from attending a birth except in emergency. I picketed at courtrooms when a friend and midwife was arrested and charged unjustly.
I learned that it is illegal to indict for a criminal act if a law is passed after the fact making that action illegal. It is called an 'ex post facto' law. I read recently that the Floridal law which allows Terri to be starved to death was not passed until 1999. It is too bad that she hasn't been charged with a crime - she would have more rights as a convicted criminal than she does as a disabled human being.
I don't know where our country, indeed our world, is headed. I can but hope and pray that God will indeed pull good from evil. I must confess to twinges of doubt and despair. I'm not into walking. on water, and it is getting harder all the time to keep my eyes on Jesus.
What follows was posted to a much earlier blog post on Terri Schiavo. I thought it worth bringing forward. It opens with a phrase that will be eerily familiar to most if not all of us.
Now, I'm off to Good Friday services. Will be praying and praying and singing and crying and praying some more. The wood of the Cross - let us worship, let us adore.
The following is an excerpt from the American Crisis, No. 1, written by Thomas Paine in December of 1776. Washington had the pamphlet read to all the units in his army. The words in brackets make this writing applicable to the current America Crisis facing our country.
“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. [The judges in our country], with an army [of civil officers] to enforce her tyranny, [have] declared that [they have] a right (not only to [legislate]) but ‘to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER,’ and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God…
“I turn with warm ardor of a friend to those who have nobly stood, and are yet determined to stand the matter out. I call not upon a few but upon all, not on this state but on every state: up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake. Let it be told to the future world that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but ‘show your faith by your works,’ that God may bless you. It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and near … the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now, is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardness who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole and make them happy…
“Let them call me a rebel, and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a [drunken], stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America. There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one. There are persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be merciful. It is the madness of folly to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice...
“By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils – a ravaged country… [life] without safety, and slavery [under the judges] without hope...”
We need to be delivered from our bondage of slavery to these royal judges and be led back to our Promised Land.