Today's mass reading (2 Sm 1:1-4a, 5-10a, 13-17) was the gripping story of King David's adultery and murder of Uriah the Hittite. No matter how many times I read it, the passage is always new with meaning and applicable lessons.
You know the story. David was up late one night and while surveying the city from the roof of his palace saw a beautiful woman bathing. He failed to guard his eyes. She was immodest enough to be nude within eye shot of others. He was smitten, as men are by feminine beauty.
He pursued; she succumbed. A baby was conceived. That's when the story gets really interesting.
Her name was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, the armor bearer of David's general Joab who was out on campaign. If she delivered the baby, Uriah would know that it wasn't his and all hell would break loose upon his return from the front.
David had a plan. He called for Uriah and bade him to go home and relax. Uriah spent the night sleeping at the palace gate with the officers, however. The next night, David got him drunk. But, Uriah passed out among the servants.
David had Uriah sent back to the front lines carrying secret instructions to abandon him in the thick of the fight. David had him killed in battle in order to avoid the inconvenience that his own lust had occasioned.
It might seem quaint by today's standards that someone would deceive a man as to his wife's condition by fooling him into thinking that the baby was his. Today's secularized David would merely pay for Bathsheba's abortion thereby disposing of the evidence, and be done with it.
Despite the heinousness of the solution that David eventually contrived, the thought of killing their child in her womb didn't enter his mind; not likely hers either as she told him she was pregnant rather than visited the local problem solver. Abortion wasn't an option, even for a murderer.
“As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters,” Obama said. “I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right.“
And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.”
President Obama believes that it needs to be so for the sake of Bathsheba's liberty to indulge in lust on equal terms with David, physiological differences notwithstanding.
He doesn't believe that bringing another life into existence should oblige a daughter to alter her dreams in light of changed circumstances--circumstances changed by her choices--or even inform her understanding of responsible behavior. To the President's mind, any other conclusion would be unfair, discriminatory, playing politics, misogyny.
Rights are rights and principles are principles after all. Innocent victims are an inconsequential transaction with the grim reaper.
Rather than reacting like George Bailey to a handshake from Mr. Potter, the President seems untroubled by this ghastly accommodation with death. He perceives no need to reevaluate his principles or reconsider his understanding of Constitutional rights.
Father Pat's homily stressed the hopeful aspects of the story. Despite great sin, God forgave and loved the repentant David. The only thing capable of preventing a happy ending would have been David's willful blindness, stubborn pride and evasion of responsibility.
No matter what we've done, e.g., killed a child in the womb or impregnated someone who did, we can be forgiven if we repent. We can move on to live in God's grace.
But we need to repent and reverse course to make things right. This November, if not sooner, provides another opportunity to begin anew.