The Rights Of the Born - Los Angeles Times

The Rights Of the Born - Los Angeles Times

By Anne Lamott,
ANNE LAMOTT is a novelist and essayist. Her most recent book is "Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith" (Riverhead, 2005).

February 10, 2006

EVERYTHING WAS going swimmingly on the panel. The subject was politics and faith, and I was on stage with two clergymen with progressive spiritual leanings, and a moderator who is liberal and Catholic. We were having a discussion with the audience of 1,300 people in Washington about many of the social justice topics on which we agree — the immorality of the federal budget, the wrongness of the president's war in Iraq. Then an older man came to the mike and raised the issue of abortion, and everyone just lost his or her mind.

Or, at any rate, I did.
This story spoke to me about how it feels to have a clear understanding of something which those around me simply don't get at all. In Ms. Lamott's case, it's knowing that abortion is an option which every woman has individually to choose or discard, regardless of anyone else's emotional or religious opinions on her right to maintain her own body.

For me, the issue is god certitude; the fact that so many people assume there is a god and refuse to reason out the likelihood of such a silly notion. As the recent UoM poll I linked shows, the experience of my everyday life is something Lamott found herself confronted with in a single, unexpected instance.

It was not until the reception that I finally realized part of the problem — no one had told me that the crowd was made up largely of Catholics.

I had flown in at dawn on a red-eye, and, in my exhaustion, had somehow missed this one tiny bit of information. I was mortified: I had to eat my body weight in chocolate just to calm myself.

But then I asked myself: Would I, should I, have given a calmer answer? Wouldn't it have been more useful and harder to dismiss me if I had sounded more reasonable, less — what is the word — spewy?
Yeah... It kinda sucks to realize that everyone around you believes a demonstrably insane proposition, and is gonna be shocked and uncomfortable might you have the gall to point out the silly selfishness of that belief.


Try experiencing such discomfort amongst nearly everyone you know, no matter what the occasion!

H/T to
The Catherine Chronicles, the blog which replaced mine own on The Daou Report's upper left-hand column. There's some good reading there folks!


  1. Have you read Anne Lamott's "Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith" -- ?

    Excellent, excellent book. I just love her.


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