Amy Welborn is a much-appreciated friend of this blog. Last week, she included a link to something Annie wrote here.
A reader posted a comment there that says in part:
"If they repent, they should be met with forgiveness like any other sinner, and programs like Rachel's Vineyard to bring about emotional healing are great, but I don't think that they have a right to demand that they should be treated as if nothing had ever happened. I fear that I may sound like the elder brother of the Prodigal Son or the laborers who worked all day and got the same pay as those who worked one hour, but I think that it is an insult to women who did the right thing to act as if the differnce between them and women who did not should be completely wiped away."
To which I responded:
Could you clarify how exactly you would want to treat me differently?
Would I be allowed to receive and extend the sign of peace? Would I be allowed to sing in the choir?
Do you want those of us who have had an abortion to wear a special garment so that newcomers and visitors don't accidentally treat us the same?
Should we be required to participate in an annual stone-throwing ceremony in the parking lot? Would real stones be used or would they be symbolic stones made out of paper mache? Would our remaining children be allowed to watch the ceremony?
Or is it your recommendation that I be allowed to participate in the life of the church, but would be shunned from your social circle?
Is the only time that we'd sit down to a meal together be the annual Pro-Life banquet when I get invited to speak about the horror of abortion from a personal perspective?
Or would you recommend that we be treated just the same on the surface, but every so often--perhaps in line at the grocery store, perhaps on the sidelines as we watch our kids compete in the swim meet, perhaps as I prepare myself to receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist--you or one of your friends would lean over and whisper into my ear, "I haven't forgotten what you did."