Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Are You Two Living Together?"

That's a question that's come up pretty frequently. When you're in a serious relationship and thinking about the future, it seems like the natural next step in society. Of course, my companion and I are not. Personally, we're both pretty traditional about that and have decided we can't until marriage. Now, if it was a month beforehand and someone was going to be homeless, the other person would obviously make allowances but no, we're not going to. For this year anyway, I live in a small house (with five other people) and he is finishing school while living on-campus and, even if that weren't our situation, we would not live together.

The main thing is, we do want to follow our faith (something we both chose) and honor our commitment to abstain till marriage (yeah, folks, it's doable but insanely hard as is). Living together would make it harder, even if we were sleeping in separate rooms. Just think about it, even if you're not in the same bedroom, it's still just the two of you, seeing each other get out of the shower, in your PJ's, lots of opportunities to snuggle on the couch......come on, if none of that tempts you, you're probably dead. Waiting is already hard and I've come close to falling several times. Why make it harder?

Faith and traditional morals aside, what if, after all that, it didn't end up working? Breaking up is tough for many couples, can you imagine paying money to break the lease, as well as needing to cough up first/last month's rent and a security deposit, as well as a lease fee and an application fee? Not to mention the stress of moving your stuff out. I know moving already stresses me out. I can't imagine this scenario. I've known both married (but obviously separated) and unmarried couples who've gone through this. Not for me.

Also, if I were to live with someone, without making a serious commitment, to me, that would put the idea of, "well, one of us could just leave," in my subconscious. To me, if I am going to move in with someone, share my daily life with him and he with me, there's no turning back. If you're moving in with me, then you better be prepared to stand with me before God, the law, and all of our family and friends and make a commitment that binds you till the day one of us dies. Because, by the point I'm ready to live with you, I've already decided to love you till the day I die.

Twin Reduction/Selective Reduction

So recently, the NY Times published an article about twin reduction. Of course, with IVF pregnancies, the term "selective reduction" (aborting some babies because there's a lot of them and it would be very high risk to carry them) has been around for awhile. But now, reducing a twin pregnancy to a single pregnancy is becoming a trend. In the article, it mentioned women who remarried later and were hoping for one baby, who didn't want to deal with two teens in their 60's, etc. Something about the article just made my skin crawl.

I'm pro-choice, but in the sense that I think abortion is a necessary evil. I don't like the idea of killing babies, but I also don't want girls cutting themselves up, drinking poisons, or having someone beat them up and cause serious injuries. Also, in cases of rape, incest, mother's health, I think it should be an option. Further, I don't feel it's really my business to tell another woman whether or not she's ready to have a baby.

However, I also don't like the idea that children are commodities and that we can engineer them to be who we want them to be. Aborting a pregnancy because you're really struggling or because something bad happened to you makes sense because you're choosing between two less than ideal situations. Aborting a twin in a healthy pregnancy, where you're otherwise stable, just because you didn't want to deal with extra work sounds callous to me. What will your kid say if you tell them that? It would make sense if their twin was dying but not if their twin was healthy.

For me, it's the same reason aborting babies with Down's Syndrome makes me uncomfortable (since now, more than ever, they have a chance to live happy, healthy, and fulfilled lives). It's the same reason aborting a baby who happens to be a certain gender makes me uncomfortable. Where do we draw the line? Are we going to abort babies who don't look a certain way (which we may be able to know, with increasing technology)? Who don't possess a certain talent? Are we going to turn into Gattaca, where it was looked down on to conceive naturally, for fear it would be genetically inferior?

Of course, some feminists will say, "If you're pro-choice, you have to be for every choice." I don't necessarily agree with that. We're all at different points and there are ways we draw the line. I am pro-choice because I do think there are situations where abortion may be justified and I don't think mothers or doctors should be arrested. However, I think doctors should have ethical guidelines when it comes to anything fertility related. These are babies and potential babies we're talking about. They are not new pairs of shoes, shades of lipstick, or cute handbags. It's one thing to want to plan your family responsibly and to have to make a difficult choice, because of your finances, health, or any other children you may have. It's quite another to decide that you can't love a particular child because it will interfere with your lifestyle somehow. Parenting is hard work, whether single babies or twins, special needs or not (barring ones where pregnancy could pose a huge threat to both mom and baby), boys or girls. If you're not up to it for one, you're not up to it at all.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Oy, veh.........I know I should read the news, but I really don't want to

The only thing so far that has made me smile in the news was reading about how Health and Human Services has finally made gains for women's health, by mandating that insurance companies must cover birth control, breast pumps, counseling for domestic violence, prenatal care, and cancer screenings. Finally! You want us all to be mommies? Make it affordable. I think our peeps are starting to understand that.

In other news.......we're losing our standing which is a bit frightening. Does that mean it's going to be harder for me to find a job? Even though I have a college degree, make it a point to learn languages, and have some programming skills, as well as experience domestically and internationally? Is it going to be hard for my companion to find a job? I know we've got a buffer year, between my year of volunteer service and his last year of college. At the same time, we do have the future to think about.

It angers me that politicians put their own agendas ahead of the needs of their constituents. Their chutzpah (a word some of them can't even say) with regard to "family values" infuriates me. Not only does it bother me that they're willing to discriminate against good friends of mine, it bothers me that the policies they support create immense obstacles for me to start my own. and to plan it responsibly. It bothers me that I hear all this rhetoric of "support the troops" yet, when we were on the verge of default, they didn't seem concerned with the fact that our men and women in dangerous places might not even see a paycheck. It bothers me that none of the "tough on crime" rhetoric seems compatible with preventing crime by strengthening our schools and providing employment. Further, cheap shots at preventative health care, provisions for our elderly, and volunteer programs that provide young people with skills, work, and passion for their communities just make me wonder where their civic commitment is.

Don't even get me started on their claiming Christianity. I don't like the idea of denying anyone Holy Communion but, if you're gonna deny it to somebody, choose these dudes.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Faith and the rest of the world

Today, I received an interesting comment about my faith. I was at my previous job, meeting a coworker today and another coworker had seen the stack of books in my hand. One of them was Karen Armstrong's book The Bible. As soon as my other coworker had examined the books I was carrying, she gave me the following,

"Wow, you must really trust this lady to interpret the Bible for you."

Then, she followed up with how she's never read the Bible.

I'll admit, I became defensive and responded by saying that I'm perfectly capable of reading and interpreting the Bible myself. However, looking back, I have to smile a bit. Here she was, assuming that I must rely on others' Biblical interpretations without coming up with my own, yet admitting ignorance. Of course, I should have asked her, why is this a mark of pride? In a nation and world of intense religious debate, not to mention a plethora of religious influence (in governmental policies, rock music, attitudes about morality and social justice), doesn't that mark you as slightly unprepared? Further, in an age where people need evidence for everything and place a high value on education, why would ignorance of any kind be a good thing? Also, how can you even formulate an opinion if you choose to be ignorant?

Of course, with all of this in mind, I will admit that most of us people of faith will rely on another's interpretation of our scriptures to some degree. Why else do we accept the way our religious services run or embrace certain morals and customs? At the same time, this does not excuse anyone for ignorance. Most religions encourage study and meditation of their holy works and there is plenty of room for interpretation. Our interpretations allow us to discern and make decisions about our lives. We may consult a cleric for questions and advice, yet we have to decide how we can best live in light of our faith. We keep other opinions in mind, but we have to sort through all of them in order to formulate our own.

Sadly, we live in a world where having faith is akin to being at best, an uneducated peon and at worst, an intolerant warmonger. Most religions are meant to be positive forces of change in the world. However, it takes education, skill, confidence, and good will, in order to make that change, regardless of what you choose to believe. Having faith is not the problem. Malevolence, apathy, and willful ignorance are. It's sad that people feel that they can accomplish so much with that very last one.