Last week, I watched the season finale of 911. In one dramatic scene, a standoff of sorts occurred between Bobby Nash, a firefighter Captain, and a sniper — a disgruntled former member of the LAPD SWAT team member. The sniper was angry that the fire department saved everyone. How could they save someone with a drug addiction so severe that he overdosed multiple times and was brought back to life? In the end, he was saved by paramedic fighters only to come back later and harm a fellow police officer while trying to find more drugs. The dialogue between the sniper and Captain Nash included a line that went like this:
Sniper: “How could you save him?”
Captain Nash: “Everyone deserves to be saved.”
This has always been the hallmark of Saint Miriam. Everyone is welcome. Everyone has a home here. The broken and the addicted. The gay and the straight. The married and the divorced. The transgender, the gay, the lesbian, the recovered, the ex-offender, the rejected, the foreigner, the refugee, too. Everyone. There are no exceptions other than you treat everyone with kindness, don’t backstab, work hard to build a better world, worship God and love each other. Serve.
This is why we continue despite those who recently told us they were leaving because we won’t call gay and lesbian people ‘sin’. It is why we also disagree with the U.S. Catholic bishops who will meet next month to take a vote aimed directly at the question of whether pro-abortion rights politicians should receive Communion. No one should be restricted from coming close to God. It is a slippery slope to begin to mete out holy Communion.
It is also why I whole heartily stand firm against the so-called ‘heartbeat bill’, that would prohibit health-care providers from performing an abortion once a heartbeat, which at such early gestational ages amounts to not much more than electrical activity in cells, is detected, presented by Pennsylvania House Republicans. It is one of the most advanced and most extreme abortion bans proposed in the state.
Now, before you flood me with emails, let me be clear: I personally do not support abortion, but it is not my job to tell another human being, let alone a female who is in crisis, what to do with her body and force her to follow my moral compass. It is my job to counsel and offer options. It is also not the job of a politician to use an issue that will literally kill those without access to healthcare and prevention to use it for only political points. After all, ironically it is the same politicians that would support the death penalty and are limiting rights of the transgender and the refugee. I take it that they do not have heartbeats? IF you are truly pro-life, then please…move beyond pro-birth and stay in your lane. Allow doctors and the pregnant to use their own morality and education to make decisions related to female healthcare. And, stay out of my lane, too. Please don’t confuse your title as a state or federal representative with my theology degree and years of sitting with all kinds of people at the lowest point of their lives and offering a place to grieve, recover, and find hope. We are all broken, all of us have scars, and all of us make decisions we later regret. This is why we need a Savior. And, at Saint Miriam, we recognize that our scars remind us we are exceptional, and that we are survivors.
So, as we approach Memorial Day, a day we honor those who gave their all – literally – for the rights of freedom for everyone, every single person without exception, I say to all who read these words, bring us your scars. You are home.