Thought for the week, 16th July; Disagreeing with grace

Yet again, America seems to be tearing itself apart over abortion. Battle lines are drawn between conservatives and liberals, often apparently between the “religious” and “non-religious”. In fact the debate is more nuanced; whilst the Bishops in the Roman Catholic church are overwhelmingly anti-abortion, opinion polls suggest there is not reflected in the pews. In the Episcopal Church (the equivalent of the Church of England), Bishop Michael Curry, who spoke at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan, has spoken of his sorrow at the decision to restrict abortion. 

The issue is complex and difficult; it raises questions of both science (when does independent life begin?) and ethics (how do we balance competing rights and duties). I would not presume to tell people what they should think; I am not really sure of what I think. Perhaps this is one of those times I draw strength from the Bible. Not by using it as a text-book of embryology; something totally alien to the spirit in which it was written, but by seeing how its writers argued and disagreed. We can follow how individuals struggled to live Godly lives over the best part of a millennium, how different views, sometimes quite contradictory, were held in tension. Disagreements could become heated as views were strongly held, but somehow people found ways of living with each other. It is that spirit which we need to learn from.