Braxton's Lear - Anything to Oblige the Ladies
The matter of Henry Morgentaler receiving the Order of Canada has once again been raised, through unsubstantiated attacks against Canada's chief justice.Somehow this doesn't surprise me. I said this Braxton's Lear wasn't devoted to an Anglican, but people have been pointing out for years that the differences between the two sects are narrowing and will soon disappear.
My wife, Bonnie, and I are the parents of 21 children, 19 of them adopted from a dozen different cultural backgrounds. We are also two Members of the Order of Canada (1996) who fully support this honour for Dr. Morgentaler. We wrote letters nominating him many years ago. He is our valued friend, and more than once was guest speaker on a Sunday morning at Lakeshore Unitarian Church in Quebec while I was minister there (1967-74). He was always well received in that congregation, and still is among Unitarians generally.
I have not always been pro-choice regarding abortion. In the 1960s I was pastor of a Unitarian Church in Silver Spring, Maryland. I attended a national assembly of our denomination where the main issue for discussion was abortion.I'm sure a similar arrangement today would produce a very different result. Where are the hardy, self-confident men who would dare to line up in a group to express an opinion and not immediately start apologizing? Mr. Cappuccino was an early example of the pussification of the liberal male, and was so unnerved to find himself excluded from the Unitarian hen party that he emulated the Swan of Newark and immediately broke down.
My opinion at that time was that abortion was wrong. It was taking a human life -- very simple. The debate on the pro-choice motion was conducted utilizing two microphones, with alternating two-minute speeches. Those in favour lined up behind one microphone; those opposed behind the other.
As the lines formed, I was fascinated and somewhat disturbed to see that the line against the motion (against pro-choice) was mostly men, while the other line was mostly women -- and I knew some of these women.
Several were wives of ministerial colleagues, and two were ministers themselves. I was hit with a terrible realization: I could not vote against these women! I just sat there and wept, openly sobbing right in my seat. I finally voted with the women, and the motion passed overwhelmingly.
Abortion is never an easy choice. It is abhorrent to use it as a method of birth control. It is always an agonizing decision. But I don't think any man (or group of men) -- be they clergymen or medical doctors or politicians -- should decide for a woman what she must or must not do with her own body.
Bonnie and I both consider Henry Morgentaler to be a man of exceptional integrity, courage and compassion, fully deserving of the Order of Canada.
Fred Cappuccino, Maxville
Minister Emeritus of Lakeshore Unitarian Congregation in Pointe Claire, Quebec, and of the Unitarian Fellowship of Ottawa.
If men can't tell women what to do, I guess they have two choices: a) silence themselves, and b) cease being men.
I think I know which choice Mr. Cappuccino made.