Dear Christopher,

Did you hear about this on NPR? Dr. Willie Parker is one of two doctors who practices at the only women’s health clinic in Mississippi where abortions are willie parkerperformed. Parker, a devout Christian, is the subject of a profile in Esquire magazine called, “The Abortion Ministry of Dr. Willie Parker” by John Richardson.

I am astounded. What an inspiration! The faith and commitment of this gentle doctor has come to his work to help poor women get health care in one of the most difficult decisions of their lives. Here is someone who does not take a doctrinaire approach, but who practices basic Christian compassion in providing services to women in the only abortion clinic in Mississippi. Wealthy women can go out of state, but the women who end up at this clinic are poor women who get harassed by the protestors outside as they enter.

This reminds me of the anti-gay rhetoric and the horrible anti-gay legislation propounded in Uganda with a great deal of help by some American churches. It made me wonder how American and English Christian preachers can promote laws that not only criminalizes gay behavior, but also even promote the death penalty or life in prison. It seems to me not far from the behavior of Islamic fighters in Iraq who are forcing conversion on the Yazidis. They either must convert or die.

As a Catholic it seems to me that all I was taught and all I continue to believe is that religion should be a force for compassion. Doesn’t it say in the New Testament “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone” among many other citations that instruct believers not to judge others? It seems we need to be reminded that faith-filled people can and do choose to use their religion to make principled decisions that go against what others may take as doctrine.

Listening to Dr Parker’s interview I was so impressed by his deep faith, by his struggle to work with poor women, by his courage when he knows that there are those who would even kill to enforce their twisted sense of what is right. To me, these so-called Christians are compatriots of the ISIS terrorists in Iraq, and compatriots of those who promote the death penalty for gay people in Uganda. They do not have any right to claim religion as their motivation. I believe their motivation is the will to have power over others—the will that has caused so much destruction and so much suffering in the world.

Love, Mom