Sifting through the law for grace

In ecclesial times, theology students were first in university processionals. By 1976, the commencement procession was alphabetical. So, I was in one of Emory’s rear seats to hear Justice Harry Blackmun’s commencement speech. He is known also for writing the 1973 Roe v. Wade majority opinion.

Roe critics include Susan E. Wills’ “Ten Legal Reasons to Reject Roe” for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2003, and Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson. Among Dobbs critics is Ian Millhiser, who wrote “The end of Roe v. Wade, explained,” in Vox.

Roe and Dobbs will be remembered as two markers on a long and winding road toward peace around healthcare for women who face a difficult and sometimes excruciating ethical decision. I concur with the United Methodist Social Principles and Stephanie York Arnold’s personal statement.

Here’s a bell hooks quote from All About Love, and Jackie DeShannon’s “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.”

Love heals. When we are wounded in the place where we would know love, it is difficult to imagine that love really has the power to change everything. No matter what has happened in our past, when we open our hearts to love we can live as if born again, not forgetting the past but seeing it in a new way, letting it live inside us in a new way. We go forward with the fresh insight that the past can no longer hurt us. Or if our past was one in which we were loved, we know that no matter the occasional presence of suffering in our lives we will return always to remembered calm and bliss. Mindful remembering lets us put the broken bits and pieces of our hearts together again. This is the way healing begins.

From “Jackie DeShannon’s ‘Put a Little Love in Your Heart,'” via YouTube

4 thoughts on “Sifting through the law for grace”

  1. ‘Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage.’

    Still seems a bit stone-age to me.


    1. You are not alone. There are several references like this that formed the basis for the 2020 debate that never happened due to COVID. An informal agreement was in place that the restrictive language would be suspended until the church was able to vote on an “amicable departure” of those who insist on enforcing the restrictive language that limits it to “heterosexual marriage,” etc.


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