Hinduism and Choice

I saw this banner on Slate today about the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and clicked to find out what it was all about.  They are a great example of what we are trying to do on this blog, and what the Democratic party should be doing more of.  Let’s take back the words “religion” and “faith” and “life”, particularly in the arena of abortion.  Abortion has become a spoiler issue that has taken over confirmation hearings and elections, and distracted us from many other equally important issues like women’s rights in the workplace, and illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. 
I appreciated RCRC’s inclusion of the meaning of “choice” in different religious traditions.  Although a little inaccessible because of its length, the Hindu explanation of the importance of choice as a life principle and a cherished spiritual value was right-on.  I thought it was very instructive to contemplate this principle:  “The moment of reproductive choice is just one of countless moments in a continuous stream of existence.” 
And, the following passage about the importance of context and one’s own state when making a choice illustrates the agency ascribed to each of us as humans in the Hindu faith: 

“The rightness or wrongness of a choice is ultimately relative to the aim of a soul in its particular stage of evolution. To the soul seeking the highest dharma or moksha, the unconscious use of sex or the use of violence to limit life in any form is simply constrictive. However, to a soul who has not achieved the expansiveness of consciousness to act with great deliberation, the exercise of choice is a spiritual practice by which it cultivates experience, learns and grows. The key component for spiritual growth in this case is the manner in which decisions are made. A decision made from a balanced, non-emotional state will be less productive of difficult karma than one made in despair and desperation. The circumstances of the decision will imprint a deep memory on the soul of the mother and the soul seeking incarnation.”

We should be using more passages like these to expand our national conversation about abortion…

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