I’m struck by the difference a word makes in a headline.

The author of a recent letter was careful to keep “religious organizations” plural, preserving the diversity of witness in churches; but the editorial page headline “Does the church have right to decide for women?” lumps all together in a monolithic threat to women’s rights.

My own denomination, the United Methodist Church, recognizes the complexity of the reality addressed in the letter, abortion. We seek to address the many human perspectives about it, not affirming abortion as a form of birth control or gender selection, opposing later-term abortion except in cases of danger to the mother’s physical life, searching for ways to eliminate the root causes of abortion and encouraging the adoption option.

Our church also states that no government or church law can adequately address the real situation a woman or family may find themselves in, so their decisions must be kept in the private sphere.

“The” church, the worldwide communion of Christians, is not of one mind about this or many other matters; but we are bound by one Redeemer and one Word to wrestle with it respectfully together. When your paper creates a perception that one church’s stance is dominant, it undercuts that ongoing conversation.

Karen L. Munson


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