Thursday, August 20, 2015

St. George and the Dragon, ISIS, Planned Parenthood, and Why I Might be Turning Into a Pacifist

When I was a kid one of my favorite books was St. George and the Dragon. Beautifully written, gripping, and I suppose it shaped a lot of how I expected wrong things were to be dealt with: head on, with God's help, and a whole lot of blood. My poor action figures never made it past a year they were manhandled so roughly. But that was the price of fighting evil in my little five year old mind. You generally got broke doing it. Not that divine help wouldn't come. In my childish wisdom I'd tape the action figures back up and send them back out into the fight, where they fought just as hard as they did before. It wasn't until every last bit of that action figure was useless that I threw the thing away, and even then I'd probably hang onto it.

Yeah, I was a weird little kid.

Now, sometime in my childhood one of my friends molested me. I didn't know what I was doing, who does at the age of eight? But that's what had happened. Once I realized that something was wrong with what we were doing I stopped it and the "friend" turned around and helped start up a neighborhood-wide five year stint get-Nathan-campaign. For five years they tormented me and my siblings and for four years I tried to get them to stop. These had been my friends, after all, and I wasn't quite ready to give up on them. Somewhere along that way I finally put two and two together and realized that not all dragons look draconic but wear human suits. By that point I'd had training in Muay Thai and used my abilities to my advantage. By the end of my time there I stalked my neighborhood, not the other way around.

It was one of the most profoundly hollow experiences I've ever had. What did I gain by hurting, cajoling, and threatening the people who had hurt me and mine? After that quick satisfaction anyone gets from righting a wrong there really wasn't much to be satisfied over. I had become someone who could scare a neighborhood. Wonderful. Some Saint George I'd turned out to be.

Sometime after that I finally (after three tries!) read The Brother's Karamazov, which answered a lot of the questions I'd had for awhile. They weren't new answers, just repackaged in a way that I could get: we're all one family and the response to wrong doing has to be love and forgiveness, for everyone's sake; judgment and violence really get us nowhere. It's not a pill I've swallowed the whole way, it still needs a lot of water to wash it down, but it's stuck in my throat somewhere, uncomfortably.

That's when this whole thing with ISIS started happening, and women and children started getting raped on massive levels. Oh, I won't pretend to know the depth of despair that they're going through but, as a sexual abuse carrier who still grieves the event, I feel desperately sorry for them. If the pain and anguish I feel some days over what happened is any indication of what they're feeling, any indication at all, I don't blame them for wanting to commit suicide. I don't blame them for losing hope because what's more hopeless than having your own sexual autonomy destroyed? There ain't much. And yes, I'll admit it, a part of me wants to go over there personally and blow those ISIS animals to hell and back. Who deserves death more than a sexual molester? Particularly a whole army of them?

Sometime after ISIS started it's terror campaign (that our fearless leader ignores) we had Micah. My goodness, I can't believe how amazing it is to have a baby! Every day he's just happy that I'm bloody there in his life. Me. His dad. There's something profoundly humbling in that all he cares about is if I'm happy and if I love him. The lack of symbols to distract him from that love is incredibly disarming, because I can't talk useless words with him. All I can do is show him that he's loved. And he knows when he's being lied to, so I'd better mean my smile from the bottom of my heart. Nothing has changed my life more than becoming a father.

And THEN the Planned Parenthood videos came out. I will admit it flat: I haven't watched them. I've read transcripts, reactions on both sides, and got sick just from doing that. As a Catholic I believe that abortion is wrong. I have prayed in front of abortion clinics, held up the signs of bloody dismembered babies on Good Friday on the highway, and attended two Pro-Life Marches on Washington D.C. So don't get me wrong, I've done something. It ain't much, but it's something. In the face of those videos it became a whole load of bunk. Every image and account I read I saw Micah's face and it prevented me from getting all the information that I, an adult, should get. But I really don't care. That's a step I can't take, not yet.

What led to this blog post isn't the first six videos, but the seventh, where a baby's face is hacked into to get at a brain and the heart is still beating. Yeah, I'm glad my stomach was empty, because just reading about it makes me nauseous. Such a profound disregard, which looks so familiar... what makes them any better than ISIS again? As Christians we're supposed to defend the weak and some of us believe in Just War theory. Forty years of dead children and why haven't we leveled every abortion clinic in America? We don't believe we can convince those ISIS monsters to change their ways, why do we somehow think the abortionists are any different? And why do we still teach our kids about St. George if we're not going to do anything about it?

(For anyone from the U.S. government reading my post and looking up my unit to let them know they have an extremist in their ranks, please put down the phone. I'm not finished yet. Cause I know someone from the government's reading this going "And we have an abortion clinic bomber in the making!" No you don't. Put the phone down and leave my bloody unit alone. Finish the blog post.)

I've been wondering how on earth to reconcile all this in my heart. This is a level of evil I find so staggering I can barely comprehend it, nevermind do something about it.  The fact that things are going on to stop it is irrelevant to me at the moment, because I think I actually have a much larger decision to make. Does violence solve anything? I have to answer a cautious yes. Defending the weak can literally mean just turning aside the blade ad nauseum. Shattering a limb is not the same as taking a life. Kneecapping may have a use. But killing? Revenge? I've never killed anyone, but there was a time I profoundly wanted and thought I needed to. And, from everything I've learned since then, I'm glad I didn't. It wouldn't have taken those awful experiences away, just given me a new one to deal with.

Besides, dragons aren't in human suits, they're much worse. We do have an Enemy and we can't kill him. Do I pray for him? I know some do. But do I? That's a completely different question. I'll ponder that at some point.

I guess that makes me a pacifist then. Those people who are murdering babies in the womb and then dismembering them and selling their body parts so they can get cars out of the deal are my brethren. They're in need of saving just as much as me. So's the kid who molested me. He needs saving too. Prayer does work, clinics have closed and hearts have been opened. Abortion was already being attacked on a massive level before these videos. I'll do what I can to make sure it ends and help those who have suffered from it, regardless of the blood. It wasn't too long ago that I wanted blood on my hands too, so it's not like I can judge.

Yup, that makes me a pacifist. Heh, my mom's gonna kill me. The irony of that previous statement is not lost on me, either. Good thing I'm twenty seven, long out of the womb, so now it counts as a murder in this barbaric nation. Now please excuse me, my wonderful son is awake and wants to munch on my prayer rope. If anyone's looking for a toy for their children Eastern Christian prayer ropes make the best toys. They're nice and soft with a tassel that you can use to tickle your child's nose. Micah adores it.