In Texas abortion case, has ‘pro-life’ become ‘pro-choice’?

The case of a 16-year-old young woman successfully suing her parents to assure that they will support her choice to … Continued

The craziness around Halloween is hard to ignore and as with anything “sacred,” be it a day, a story, an object — it has multiple meanings. These days, as with so much in our polarized public culture, each meaning has its own advocates who ardently believe they have the whole truth.

There are our religious fundamentalists who oppose Halloween because of its pagan origins and occult and satanic symbols and believe the holiday undermines Christian values with its embrace of devils, demons, and goblins. Just as seriously, there are Wiccans who oppose Halloween for its offense to real witches by promoting stereotypes of wicked witches. (Opposition to fun often makes strange bed fellows.)

There are traditionalist Jews and members of other faiths who oppose Halloween because it is a Christian holiday — All Saints Day. There are our simplicity folks who oppose Halloween because they see it as another construction of Madison Avenue that has turned one more holiday into a commercialized ($5 billion) consumption experience. There are our concerned parents who oppose Halloween because of its increasing tolerance of violent images and vandalism.

There are serious Christians who reject the ghost, ghouls, witches, and vampires of Halloween and instead emphasize the Christian tradition of honoring all saints known and unknown. And then there is the majority of parents and children who simply enjoy the candy and costumes, the pranks and trick and treating, and the carved pumpkins and haunted houses of Halloween.

So, not surprisingly, depending on who one is and to what community one belongs and one’s psychological predisposition, Halloween is indeed many things. It is harmless fun or anti-Christian, anti-Jewish or anti-Wiccan, amusingly scary, chillingly violent or crassly consumerist. It is all of these as well as a Saint Fest, a day to honor the dead, a harvest festival, and a psychological release as, around us, nature “dies” for the winter and the day darkens earlier and earlier.

It seems to me that the cultural and spiritual energy surrounding Halloween is directly related to this multiplicity of meanings. (My wisdom tradition teaches that, contrary to conventional understanding, something is sacred not because it has only one specific meaning but because it has indeterminate and inexhaustible meaning.)

In other words, there is a partial truth to each of these meanings and rather than simply dismiss the meaning or meanings we feel are silly or wrong or even dangerous we might try to incorporate some insight or aspect of that meaning, however small, into our take on Halloween.

Personally, I grew up attending a Jewish parochial school that strongly discouraged any participation in Halloween festivities. But my parents, with a bit of reluctance, and quite a bit of pleading from me and my five brothers, treated Halloween as a secular day and permitted us to dress up and go trick or treating with emphasis on the treating rather than the tricking.

But we were reminded that Halloween was not a Jewish holiday and as age appropriate actually learned a little about the origins of the holiday and where we as Jews differed. And there were also some interesting additions to our celebration. Costumes were home-made, not purchased, and there were no hatchet in the head costumes. For every one piece of candy we got to keep we had to give away one piece. (We started with the non-kosher candy!)

And of course there was UNICEF — our celebrating and candy gathering were connected to giving to the less fortunate. One might say that we had fun without the fear and the frenzy — a kind of fun that transcended different faiths and backgrounds — in which our present joy superseded a pagan past, candy trumped creed, and treats trumped theology.

Be Safe and Happy Halloween!

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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  • rccrawford

    The problem for the pro life camp is that it claims to be pro life, however, in order to be pro life is must choose which life to save. There are 1.8 born babies dying each second and 1.4 abortions per second. Not all can be saved. Therefore one must choose to save either the born life or the fetus. if a person chooses to spend even 1 second saving fetuses then in that second 1.8 born babies will die. So the choice must always be to save born life or one is simply trading the life of a born baby for the life of a fetus.
    There are scientific laws that control abortion, they may be found by searching Naturalabortionlaw on google.

  • dcrswm

    “We’re pro-choice… long as you make the choice we want”…worst kind of people, and they are not pro-life, they’re just anti-abortion.

  • dcrswm

    So “your choice is to carry the pregnancy to term” is somehow a choice of multiple options?

  • nkri401

    The good Christian nation USA used to know how to deal with the children like this one in Texas; kick them out when she got pregnant out of wedlock.

    Looks like another libber who want mooch off the rest hardworking Americans.

  • annpenn1

    “I will never forget asking a regional director for Planned Parenthood when was the last time she had recommended a woman carry her pregnancy to term, and she could not recall.”

    Planned Parenthood does not “recommend” an outcome, either way. They give the facts of the choices (yes, including raising the child and adoption) and help the woman (or couple) clarify what is in keeping with her (their) own principles and situation.

    That said, I do know of cases where young unmarried couples have been asked if they had considered marriage and continuing the pregnancy; sometimes this had led to that outcome.

    For me, being “pro choice” has always been about being able to select either option, to make one’s own choice in keeping with one’s own moral values. In over 40 years of serious attention to this issue I have never encountered anyone in the Pro-choice movement who could be described as “Pro abortion”.

    I HAVE personally experienced the other side of this coin when (pre-Roe) I had a wanted pregnancy that would have killed me if it had continued. Because of restrictive laws at that time my health was compromised – I had to be in a really bad condition before my dr. could legally terminate the pregnancy. Had I died then, my subsequent children and grandchildren would not be here today.

  • cricket44

    Thank you, annpenn. I found that claim to be rather suspect, as well.

  • cricket44

    The hypocrisy of the anti-choice camp is *rank* on this one as they will eagerly support parents forcing their teen to give birth.

  • patriot1

    To annpenn: If you had that abortion and it was unnecessary, you wouldn’t have the children and grandchildren you have today. Aren’t you glad you gave birth?

  • patriot1

    Your ignorance really astonishes me.

  • cricket44

    Yes, Scott, we all know you are into using women as incubators. Tat you share the hypocrisy doesn’t make it less hypocritical.

  • cricket44

    Patriot, necessity is not decided by you.

  • cricket44

    Reading comprehension is awfully tough for you , isn’t it, little guy?

  • cricket44

    In your mind…

  • persiflage

    Going to Texas guarantees an Alice in the Looking Glass moment – where everythig is upside down and backwards. Going to any of these red states only proves that time travel is not a futuristic fantasy, but an every day reality.

    Unfortunatey, one can only travel in reverse…….

  • shanti2

    I liked your post because I thought you had your tongue planted firmly in your cheek, but now I’m not so sure. Should I unlike it?

  • persiflage

    Many cherries fail to become cherry blossoms and one grape does not a vinyard make. Acorns are eaten by wild hogs……
    and so it goes in the natural world.

    And still, there are over 7 billion people in the world today, many of whom are poverty-stricken and without the basic essentials to sustain life.

    Human control over all reproductive processes is an essential element in keeping the world population in check – although unlikely to happen before natural catastrophes in the form of food and water shortages dramatically reduce the global population. Hand of God or Mother Nature? The results are the same……….

  • persiflage

    ‘So you favor infanticide? You are equating the purposeful killing of humans with natural death. You are advocating murder as a natural event……….’

    Here’s what I actually said.:

    ‘Human control over all reproductive processes is an essential element in keeping the world population in check.’

    Scottie, you’re reasoning like a person with a cognitive disorder. Such distorted extrapolations from what I wrote seem to arise from your own pre-conceived notions of what other people believe – and not what they actually say.

    Human culture and available natural resources are unable to sustain the current and growing global population, and you obsess about a woman’s right to control her own reproductive
    processes. Your priorities are all out of whack, podner.