"Ours is an age of violent farce," I remarked today on my facebook page. I've noticed a shift, either in the general arc of current events, or at least in my own reaction to them, within the past several weeks.
There was a time when I experienced dismay, fear, and anxiety about the future, but my priorities have shifted: nearly two years ago exactly, I went with my dreams and hopes into discernment with a beautiful community of Trappist monks, envisioning life in a place I could (finally!) call home after years of wandering. When I came to see I wasn't met for a life of cloistered contemplation, I bore the great sorrow and heartbreak of what seemed like a lost future. Out of the experience came much interior growth, a new sense of self-knowledge, a greater love for God, for the poor, for silence and solitude.
Similarly, I came more fully into myself: I changed my diet around and lost 40 pounds in the bargain; I rediscovered my love of rock 'n roll; I dyed my hair purple for Lent and then bleached it out for Eastertide; I finally got around to learning to drive, albeit failing the Maryland driving test twice (with another attempt coming up in another 6 weeks); I made a successful debut as a public speaker on the topic of alcoholism and faith
; I rode Amtrak home to Minnesota for my grandmother's funeral, where I sought to love my family both radically and detachedly; I moved into an apartment of my own, turning it into my a little hermitage of sorts, in which I can host friends for tea or a meal and yet also pray the divine office in solitude; I've found myself far less engaged in politics and worry and more engaged in prayer, in making friends with the lonely and marginalized, and in living simply.
All this is a long way of explaining that I react to current events less with indignation and fear and more with bafflement and prayer and provocative questions.
The nationwide fiasco surrounding the redefinition of marriage reached a new high (I won't call it "peak" yet) in Indiana with Big Corporations and legions of internet Social Justice Warriors crying out first against the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act and ultimately against a hapless, family-owned pizzeria in a town of just over 2,000 people. My question wasn't "who do these people (be they the Governor, the legislature, the CEO's, the internet tough guys, or the pizza shop owners) think they are?" but rather, "when did homosexuality become so bourgeois as to care about or demand the approval of 70-year-old florists
and small-town pizzeria owners in flyover country? Freddie Mercury and Lou Reed were too cool to worry about what the squares would think of their lifestyles." Artur Rosman suggests that the "conservative" viewpoint of Andrew Sullivan
has won out over the "radical" "queer" viewpoint of Michael Warner; radical that I am, I have a greater appreciation of diverse subcultures contributing color to society's fabric than I do for combinations of Big Government, Big Corporations, and vengeful mobs of Yelp reviewers teaming up and punching down on people who are essentially the real-life embodiment of the parents from Footloose
Less well known, if only because it's happening more quietly, my State of Maryland took up one of those Orwellian "Death with Dignity" bills in the recently-concluded legislative session. Though it did not make it out of committee, it promises, like death itself, to visit again in the future. My question to my state senator and delegates was to ask the rationale behind passing legislation that would allow doctors to administer lethal drug overdoses to people at the same time that the Governor has established a heroin task force
to combat an epidemic of lethal drug overdoses in the State. I received no reply from them.
The violent, farcical spirit was on display in this piece that Ace wrote
about a grisly "murder-but-not-murder-murder" case in Colorado
An attacker stabbed a pregnant woman in her home, and left her for dead -- but not before cutting her baby out of her.
The baby died, the woman did not -- but this grisly murderer can't be charged with murder, because prosecutors claim the law doesn't permit murder charges involving a fetus. (Though I smell a strong whiff of "I don't want to" in this claim of "I can't.")
So some Colorado legislatures want to write the law so that it explicitly covers this situation.
Not even that.
This law, by the way, explicitly exempts voluntary abortions. So it can't be claimed this is back-dooring a ban. Nope, abortions are outside the scope of this bill.
And to this one, I'm left without any smart-ass questions, or comments, or jokes. It's simply a quiet "How long, Lord, how long?"
Labels: Abortion, Government, Marriage, Marylandia, Suicide