There’s a reason it’s called ‘spin’.
Spin is a rotating cycle in your dryer. Spin is that childhood game where you twirl in circles then stagger around for everyone’s amusement. Spin is when someone twists information in one direction so they can justify their opinions.
It’s called spin because it is unidirectional and dizzying.
The recently leaked draft of a possible Supreme Court ruling on abortion has caused an explosion of emotion on both sides of the issue. The rumour that Roe v Wade would be struck down immediately brought crowds of for-and-against protestors to the steps of the Court.
Both hemispheres in the debate continue to generate their own spin: one side spins it as a win for life and morality while the other side spins it as an attack on women and the poor. Both extremes spin in the direction of their own walled-up version of the truth.
Look, most everybody agrees that abortion is a sad word and an unfortunate happenstance. There is nothing comfortable about the dilemma of an unwanted pregnancy, regardless of whether it is carried or terminated. An embryo is a miracle, nothing less. Christians have good reason to see a fetus as a blessing from God and not just some tissue to be dealt with.
On the other hand, christians are much too skilled at spinning abortion as an act of pure, wanton evil. Calling it murder over-simplifies the issues and takes us down the path of blind judgement. (And anyway, we can’t even agree on when life ends, let alone when it begins). Churches are actively supporting new laws that are punitive and cruel toward expectant mothers without addressing underlying issues like poverty, health care, or foster care.
Spin from each position continues to cloud the real problems and there is practically no interest in cooperating to help both babies and mothers. The loudest voices want to win more than they want to help.
Spin is a version of brainwashing, regardless of whether it whirls right or left. When we have been spun, our senses still work but they become addled and unbalanced. We feel convinced that the rest of the world is staggering around in ignorance when it is really our perception of truth that is out of whack.
The problem with spin is that it claims moral high ground while bypassing personal accountability. Wouldn’t it be refreshing if both sides could cooperate to find the money and methods to benefit baby, mother, father, family, society for the greater good? It doesn’t help anybody when we argue and fight and claim temporary victories.
Who should be the most clear-headed people in the work of caring for pregnant mothers? Christians, that’s who. That’s why christians need to consider how spin has biased our thinking.
You see, we spinners are experts at pointing out other people’s mistakes, troubles, hurts, failures while ignoring our own. Or as Brian Zahnd recently quipped, “You can’t show how much you love God by how hard you hate.”
Did you know that most women who have abortions are church-goers? Yep, 70% of the women who have abortions identify as christian; 20% are evangelical christian. Even more awkwardly, the vast majority of these women said that people in their churches were more likely to judge, gossip, and be unsupportive.¹ We can’t even take care of our own.
Spinning takes our focus off what is important: kindness and love. We’re so spun that we think compassion is only about freedom or fetuses. We’re too addled to remember every child is a gift that deserves love and provision. We’re too staggered to consider that adults are older babies with more scars.
you’ve been spun
Christians need to be especially cautious about being spun. I can’t believe I have to say this, but far too many christians aren’t a ‘safe’ place for pregnant women.
Statistics show that 25% of women will have an abortion by age 45. Studies have long indicated there are lasting mental health effects for women who have had an abortion and now we’re learning that an unwanted birth can cause equally significant health concerns. Shouldn’t we treat the subject more kindly, knowing that 1 in 4 people around us is carrying that burden?
That is why I can’t join either the pro-choice or pro-life camp: the problems are too complex, the needs too real, the spin too dangerous. Every pregnancy is a personal story of love and pain and it’s not helpful to point our fingers because we need to feel righteous.
Love and compassion are in the DNA of christianity. If we’re not loving and compassionate, we’re simply not christian. So let’s stop the Supreme Court celebrations – the higher we jump for joy, the more our spin shows.
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