Tuesday, July 9, 2013

This Is My Body

Let me declare loudly that this is my body, my mind, my soul, my spirit, and my choice.

Whether you are conservative, liberal, Republican, Democrat, Christian, Muslim, Agnostic, Atheist or whatever, this is still my body, mind, and soul.  That goes for whether you are a Congressman, Mayor, President, Governor or my next door neighbor.

Because I was born into a family of Christians who happened to attend a Southern Baptist Church, no big surprise that I am Christian or that I started out as a Southern Baptist.  Had I been born into a Catholic family, my life might have taken a different turn.  There would have been a head of my denomination, housed in Rome, who considered himself infallible and who had been granted rights by my denomination to tell me what to do. Whether any or all of these men (popes) were granted those rights by God, is really known only to God, Jesus and those who have preceded us to heaven.

Rules for people became necessary when many individuals began massing together. These rules (mores) evolved out of squabbles in a group.  You will remember reading about God creating Eve to be Adam's wife.  I don't recall a formal wedding ceremony or even a bunch of paperwork saying they belonged to each other.  But then, I guess it was enough that He created them for each other.  No visible sign was needed to say it was so.

As man and woman went throughout our world reproducing themselves, life got much more complicated. Without the rules, the mores, the laws, the biggest, meanest, "baddest" of them all would have gotten all the best of the women.  The power grubbers would have gotten all the control. The greedy, unfeeling, the Midas types, would have collected all the coins.  So, man made rules for man. Moses carried rules from God down to the Jewish people. Mohammed made rules for Muslims.  Jesus brought revised rules when he came.

But throughout all man's efforts to control his fellow man, even if his intentions were honorable and meant to bring order from chaos, one fact has remained true.  This is my body, my mind, my soul and my spirit.  I don't belong to you.  I don't belong to my parents (may they rest in peace).  I don't belong to my brothers.  I don't belong to my children.  And I, most especially, do not belong to any politician, foreign or domestic.  Whoever you are, political or religious, friend or foe, I do not belong to you.

This is my body, my mind, my spirit and my soul.  As long as I don't infringe on the rights of others, I get to make my own decisions.  You do not get to decide for me.  Some of my decisions will be good, some will be bad.  But they will be mine.  And if I can learn from my mistakes, I will become a better human being for the effort.

I think of the tone of voice used by Ingrid Bergman in the Inn of the Sixth Happiness.  "Oh, they will always fight," she said in a derisive tone of voice.  I'd like to borrow that tone here to say, oh there will always be others who want to control everybody else.  It is part of the nature of the beast that is mankind.  Simply stated, you have no right to do so.  I get to do that as long as I respect you, your rights and your body, mind, soul and spirit. 

Many, many of our problems in this world are power struggles.  This includes small matters like who gets to walk through your yard all the way to which people get to lead the country -- yours or mine.  It includes matters of concern to women.  It includes whose religion will be taught to our children.  It certainly includes which side runs a country.  The latter is why we honor majority rule.

You have no right to choose my religion.  If the almighty, God or Allah, had wanted me to be a radical Muslim, He would have seen that I was born to radical Muslim parents in the Middle East.  If He had wanted me to live in Mexico, He would have seen I was born there.  If He had wanted me Catholic, I would not have arrived in a Baptist home.  If He wanted me to be a parent (as he did) He would have provided children.  If He did not, I would have remained childless.  If He had a child whose parents could not take care of it, He would have let me adopt it.

The way I see it, my life belongs to me and the God who chose to send me here.  If I want to drink super sized sodas (I do not), that's between God and myself. If he wants me to make a decision about whether to abort or keep a child, that is between God and myself.  (Fortunately, He never wanted me to make such a decision).  If He wants me educated, you get the idea.  You don't get to decide just because you have more money or power than I.

It is my opinion that way too much strife and stress happens because arrogant people think they are superior to others and they should butt into another's life and tell them what to do.  You do not have that right.  If we measure each of our actions based on individual human rights, we might some day get that elusive peace on earth.

Remember my chant, "This is my body, my mind, my soul and my spirit."  Then ask yourselves how you want others to treat you.  Would you want women to control you, denigrate you, disrespect you?  No?  Then don't do it to them.

Would you want Christians to tell you what religion you will practice?  Then don't do it to them or anybody else.

Do you want God to decide that you, man, must bear all children growing within you whether you want them or not?  Then don't do it to women.

Do you want New Yorkers telling you, the Mayor, that you have to drink supersized sodas?  No?  Then don't tell New Yorkers the reverse.  Besides, if you downsize their drinks, they may just have to buy two of the smaller versions to get the amount their body needs.

My religion suggests that we practice the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

If you don't want to be enslaved, then don't do it to anybody else.

Don't even entertain the thought of telling me whom I can marry or that I have to stick with him no matter how he treats me.  I may send him to your house and let him beat up on you.  A local priest once beat up a man who abused his wife.

Human beings long ago stepped too far across the line in setting down mores that were needed to eliminate the chaos.  We err big time on the side of interfering in the rights and lives of others.

You simply have no right to control my body, my mind, my soul and my spirit.  That is my right and mine alone.  Once people get a handle on that concept, civil wars may subside; hung Congresses may cooperate; individuals will spend their time getting their own ducks in order; and our world will be a better place.

Have you heard too many times that this is my body?  Good!  Then maybe you will remember it.  Hopefully, you will even get it.

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