I find myself wanting to just write over and over and over The body is sacred. The body is sacred. The body is sacred.
As if by writing it often enough, I could make the world believe it.
It’s profoundly unfunny how we only seem to understand that idea when the body is horribly wounded or dead–and even then it’s the EMTs and the Medical Folk who do the work of trying to save the body from what has hurt it–and, I think that very often we train them to think in terms of battling the Enemy–Death–rather than of protecting and solacing the sacredness that is our physical, fleshly being.
Yes, I know I keep talking about this. Be warned, I intend to keep on doing it. I do not have delusions of power. This is just a little blog with a little (but lovelylovelylovely) readership–I’m not going to fix the world. But on this morning, when I have spent much of my waking hours over the past 24 crying, I am inclined to take whatever chance I can at lighting any candle I can. And keep lighting it.
It is the death of the body at the hands of evil that disturbs us in times like these. Whatever it is you believe is spirit is not killable and goes on–in many religious systems it goes on toward some form of ultimate light and love. So that is not death. But the loss or mistreatment of the body–that’s death. And wrongness unless it is at the natural end of the natural span. The spirit can be wounded, and it can surely be twisted and malformed and tortured and full of wrongness, but it cannot die. The body is the fragile thing, the thing that wants protection–as much a treasure as the spirit, but so seldom treated as such. The body is what teaches us everything we know about life. It is how we think and feel and have awareness of the world beyond the body. Some understanding of that, and of the profound responsibilities we all have to protect the bodies of those who are more fragile than we is why the hospital staffs in New York formed human chains to bear to safety the physical beings of newborns and the aged and the sick. It is why we inherently act to protect the physical beings of children.
And no “right” is sacred except in so far as it is inherently moral and contributes to the possibility of a just, peaceful and equitable society. No “right” is worth the bodies of children. Ever, or anywhere. I am not an anti-gun absolutist, but the easy and largely untracked availability of guns is an inarguable contributor to the levels of violence in this society. And my right to send my grandson off to school without terror is an inherently moral right that contributes to the common good. The right of boundless access to weapons whose purpose is the destruction of the body is not an inherently moral right and contributes nothing to the common good. Hunters and cops–fine. The rest of us, no. The ownership of easy methods of murder, even of mass murder, is not a right. And the people who want you to believe it is do not give a damn about you or your body. They only want to sell guns. They are purveyors of murder. They are evil. The NRA is evil. I mean that in the full theological sense of the word, as in Not Of God.
I know I’m mostly saying things you already know. I’m sorry for preaching. It’s just that, as Thomas More says in A Man for all Seasons, “Silence gives consent.” This is one of the core principles of Anglo-Saxon law. There isn’t much I can do by way of not consenting. But there’s this blog.