To answer your question…number 1

A distant family member has been sending me questions about my beliefs. When he started doing this I confess that I often responded angrily because I sensed accusation in his questions. My sense is that he thinks that because I’m a pastor I should believe the same things he as a conservative Christian believes. For me, I just remember all those conservative Christians of my youth who made sure to let me know that I was not acceptable to them and thus to their God. This no being accepted was due to my family circumstances and a general “you’re not living a godly life” accusation. We don’t really know each other (live in different parts of the country). The organization to which he refers is the Democratic Party

The most important question I had was about your support for an organization that promotes killing the unborn. I don’t understand how that can be justified especially by a pastor; can you help me understand that please? When I think about these two issues, I wonder if Jesus is more grieved by racism in this country or the legalized taking of innocent lives of the unborn.

Dear _______,

I have to confess that in re-reading through the discussion up to this point I hadn’t noticed that in addition to saying above that the Democratic Party “promotes killing the unborn”, you stated that I thought abortion was an effective means of birth control. I never said that.

What I did say is something to the effect that I am amazed that some people who claim to be against abortion are also, when you get into the details of their positions, against the use of birth control. It makes no sense to make it difficult, or impossible, for women 20170121_woc633_0to obtain what they need to prevent unwanted pregnancy. More pregnancies will only lead to more abortions. This leads me to conclude that many so called “right to life” people are actually just against the freedom of women.

I start with this because in the last month “The Economist” published a chart from the CDC that shows that abortion is now at a lower level than it was before Roe v Wade. How has that happened? According to the accompanying article:

A study published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine found that this pattern was probably behind a decline in the abortion rate of a similar magnitude between 2008 and 2011. In turn, it attributed the falling numbers of unintended pregnancies to increased use of contraceptives. During that period, birth and abortion rates dropped in tandem. Data on unintended pregnancy rates are not yet available for 2011-2014, but the authors suggest this may be a continuing effect. (

As to me “supporting an organization that promotes abortion”

There is a difference between saying that women have the right to make decisions regarding their own bodies, while also working very hard to provide women access to full reproductive care and “promotion of abortion.”

I don’t know one person who promotes abortion and I know a lot of people who are far  more strident than me. The reality is that whether legal or not abortions have happened and will continue to happen. I don’t know statistics but I have read tragic stories of women who found themselves in desperate situations. I have also read firsthand, heartbreaking accounts of women who, for reasons of health, have had to undergo an abortion. These women were celebrating the pending arrival of a child only to discover that something was incredibly wrong. I will err here on the side of compassion.

As a human being I value life. I don’t limit that valuing of life to the fetus and this is why I think that those who claim moral superiority are in many ways morally repugnant.

This is what I believe:

  • I believe that life is precious and hard, and that the ability to think critically is important.
  • I believe that providing women (especially those without financial means) access to comprehensive reproductive health that includes education and birth control is the most effect way to eliminate abortion.
  • I believe that sometimes women make poor choices (as do men) out of desperation and fear, thus we must have social services that help to provide stability in the lives of people living in poverty. (I don’t see the Republican Party doing anything here except saying that people living  in poverty don’t deserve help)
  • I believe that children are deserving of life. That means adequate food, shelter, clothing, education, and a safe environment.
    • So I support welfare programs for poor families. And sadly, the Republican Party in this country seeks to punish people for being poor and it is the children who suffer most.
    • So I believe that we must accept the refugee child and her or his parents.
    • So I believe that people deserve an environment that if free from harmful pollution.
      • I find it amazing that Republicans in Congress are going to authorize 20 billion dollars to pay for an unneeded wall but for two years have not come up with the 50 million dollars needed to fix the water lines in Flint, MI.
    • I believe that children (and all people) deserve to live free from the dangers of gun violence. Far more people have been killed in this country by guns than by terrorists (and far more people have been killed by white Christian terrorists than Muslim terrorists).
  • I believe that in their desire to affect the Supreme Court the Republicans in the Senate have destroyed the norms of that institution by refusing to vote for almost a year on President Obama’s nominee.
    • I believe this is a combination of a desire to overturn Roe v Wade as well as racism that has been directed against President Obama from before he took office.
    • I also believe that many Republicans have made a faustian bargain in their hunger for power and that we all will suffer. I wish I were wrong here, but each day brings more news of norms destroyed, ethics ignored, and hatefulness directed against minorities, especially Muslims. As a white middle class woman I could choose to ignore this and I would be ok for a time. But I would be deceiving myself because our country is going down a very dark road and we all will pay the price eventually. But as a pastor I don’t have that choice and so I will continue to work as long as I can in loving God and loving my neighbor and I will proclaim the love and presence of God to those who desperately need to hear it.

Getting back to your question about how I can support an organization like the Democratic Party. I am actually registered to vote as unaffiliated. Prior to that I was registered to vote as a Republican. It was through my study of scripture, prayer, seminary studies (at an Evangelical seminary), and immersion in a community other than white suburban middle class that I came to the realization that the Republican Party is “pro-life” in name only. While not all Republicans may feel this way, the party’s policies are pro big business and their message is one of disdain for people of color, poor people, women, and religious minorities.

So while you may not approve of me and my beliefs “as a pastor” I know that I am right where Jesus wants me to be.

May the peace of the Lord be with you,


6 thoughts on “To answer your question…number 1

  • I hope you are doing well, sorry it took so long to respond.
    Below is our previous conversation to help remove any confusion. It does bring up another question; I’m not sure what “conservative religion” is. I know what the religion of “atheists” is but not sure about conservative religion.

    Nancy – I think that abortion is tragic and thus I am horrified that “conservatives” in the name of their religion want to take away access to birth control for women.
    Bill – If you believe abortion is only tragic while you are horrified that republicans want to take it away as a form of birth control, you are confused. Abortion is not a form of birth control, it is murder.

    After reading through your blog, (which was quite extensive and I can appreciate how long it took to write) I think I will just focus on the abortion issue and leave the others, (how conservatives hate the poor, women, the environment, people of color, etc.) for a follow up.

    I thought you had voted for Hillary Clinton this time which lead to my assumption that if you did, then you also supported the Democratic platform on abortion. You didn’t say who you voted for, just that you were registered, “unaffiliated”. It doesn’t really seem to matter who people in California, Oregon and Washington vote for, it winds up being the Democrat that wins.

    I included below the Democratic as well as the Republican platforms on abortion.
    “We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution.” “We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions…We will not fund or subsidize healthcare that includes abortion coverage.”

    “Democrats are committed to protecting and advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice. We believe unequivocally…that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion—regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured.” “We will fight Republican efforts to roll back the clock on women’s health and reproductive rights, and stand up for Planned Parenthood.”

    Regarding your statement, “I don’t know one person who promotes abortion and I know a lot of people who are far more strident than me;” I’m sure you have seen the reports of whistle blowers that worked at Planned Parenthood. I include a link with information on the quotas PP has, ( ). I understand that in every organization there are disgruntled employees but the evidence they present is compelling. Obviously, there is more money in abortion than in adoption and that is why PP promotes it. Also, you still seem to include abortion under the umbrella of “reproductive rights”, we obviously disagree on that. I don’t believe abortion should be included as a form of birth control like condoms, pills, IUD, etc.

    I think I have seen where the Catholic Church is against birth control and maybe that is who you were referring to when stating that some are against Birth control. Although I’m old, I’m not aware of non-Catholic Republicans or conservatives that are against birth control. I don’t understand how you think it is, “… difficult, or impossible, for women to obtain what they need to prevent unwanted pregnancy.” I’ve seen stories, you as well I’m sure, where schools are giving out condoms. I know in some men’s restrooms, maybe women’s also, there are vending machines where condoms can be purchased for pocket change. I think the issue of basic birth control is a red herring promoted by the left to assist people in feeling better about themselves by blaming something/someone else, instead of taking personal responsibility. I understand that condoms are only 98% effective, but if they can reduce the amount of unwanted pregnancy they will also reduce abortions, then it is a win.

    I didn’t question whether you thought Jesus had you where He wanted you, we know He does; just as He had Obama where He wanted him and now we have Trump where Jesus wants him. My question to you, “I wonder if Jesus is more grieved by racism in this country or the legalized taking of innocent lives of the unborn,” is really the crux of the issue; are you compromising between the secular and Christian world which as Christians, we are instructed not to do.


    • Thanks for your reply. You misunderstood my saying I’m where I should be, to equate it with my thinking that Jesus micromanages the world as if we are all puppets. I don’t believe that President Obama was Jesus’ choice for president. Nor do I believe that Jesus chose Donald Trump. Both presidents were elected by the American people…one by a much larger margin than the other.
      Now that we have the travesty of a president who continues to show us he is a white nationalist and who continues to do things that are against against our values I will oppose. As a Christian I am thankful that God will bring good out of evil, as the apostle Paul writes.

      As for your other points, I’ll make one comment for now and that is to say if you don’t think the Republican Party and the religious right are against access to birth control then you must not be familiar with decisions like Hobby Lobby or with the fact that the vast majority of what Planned Parenthood does is provide access to birth control rather than abortions.

      I am leaving tomorrow for a 3-week trip to Germany and France so any other discussion will have to wait until the end of March, or more likely after Easter.
      Take care.


  • I’m glad you returned safely and I hope you and Scott had a good time on your vacation.

    It sounds like we both agree that Jesus doesn’t micromanage our lives but I’m sure you also agree when looking at verses in Proverbs, Jeremiah and other books of the Bible, that Jesus does have a plan for our lives and establishes our steps. Your quote from Paul affirms this very idea that God will bring good out of evil, not as a puppet master but as someone that “…will fulfill his purpose…” for us.

    I heard it was 2 – 3 million, legal and illegal votes that Hillary got, which proves that the Russians helped Trump win; wait a minute, if the Russians helped Trump, why did Hillary get that many more votes, very confusing; maybe the Russians were actually attempting to help Hillary?

    I am familiar with Hobby Lobby; that is where the Obama administration thought it was wrong for Hobby Lobby’s health insurance plan to provide for only 16 different types of birth control. His administration thought they should provide for all 20 types even though the remaining 4 types kill a fertilized egg. It sounds like the Green family believe as I do, that not only are we created in the image of God but that life begins at conception, when do you believe life begins?


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