Generally speaking, Christian folks are “pro-life.” That term has always struck me as a little obvious. Honestly, everyone who is not a mass-murderer or suicidal is, by definition, in favor of life.
Christians, of course, mean to say they are “anti-abortion.” They use the term “pro-life” to invite a subconscious contrast as if the opposition is “anti-life.”
Those who are “pro-choice” do exactly the same thing. Very few people would sign up if offered the chance to give away their free will and volition with regard to their own journeys. They, however, want to frame the identity of their counterparts on the right as being “anti-choice.”
It’s hard to honestly call Christians “pro-life,” based on the correlation between having a strong Christian self-identity and a myriad of inherently anti-life stances.
“Guns, guns, guns, guns.” – Join in the Chant, Nitzer Ebb
Among white Protestant Americans, for example, there’s a strong correlation between being against access to abortion and being against gun control laws. They are vehemently against a mother being able to get an abortion, but they also want to make sure that anyone and everyone has access to any kind of weapon they so desire.
They’re against killing, but they support handguns, which Professor L. Skynyrd of Florida once said, “…are made for killin’, they ain’t no good for nothing else.”
If you think that Jesus holds you to the standard that all life is precious, shouldn’t you also want to limit the chances that someone would mow down innocents in a theatre, a school, or a restaurant?
Wouldn’t you also want to make sure that those who are less fortunate aren’t unfairly subject to increased violence where drugs and crime rule their neighborhoods, through no fault of their own?
I hear you saying to yourself, “They can take away my guns when they come pry ‘em out of my cold, dead hands!”
I translate that as, “I refuse to let the government take away my right to make decisions about how I conduct my life.” Because the right to exercise your free will is more important than our safety, even the safety of innocent elementary school children, moviegoers, restaurant patrons, or poor people in bad neighborhoods.
Yet, in the same voting booth, you support depriving women of the right to make their own decisions about their lives, because your religion requires you to protect innocents. And you raise the likelihood that other, different innocents will die so you can retain your free will.
Let me be clear: I am totally fine with the moral, intellectual position that abortion is wrong. Your opinion is your opinion, and I support your right to have it and fight for it. But if you’re going to honor your pacifist God, you should consider aligning all of your views upon His principles.
“…they take me to the gallows pole.” – Hallowed Be Thy Name, Iron Maiden
Your religion requires you to protect human life, and by your estimation, that life starts at conception. As soon as sperm fertilizes egg, God’s divine plan has created a unique, living person, complete with a soul. Amazing!
So, it’s fair for me to ask, when does the sanctity of life end? When are you allowed to throw out your religion’s prohibitions on killing (thou shalt not kill), on revenge (turn the other cheek), and the like?
In our country, 60% of Catholics and 80% of Protestants are either unsure or in favor of the death penalty. Think about that. The majority of Christians feel that it is right and proper for the judicial system to take the life of someone on Christians’ behalf. The majority of people who follow the teachings of Christ, who possessed infinite power but let the judicial system execute him rather than unleash God’s wrath upon them, nonetheless think the judicial system executing people is totally fine.
When you factor in the researched, proven disparities in justice and outcomes between classes, races, genders, etc., capital punishment seems even more contrary to Christianity. You are literally supporting a system that guarantees innocent people will be put to death, and families (of both innocent and guilty people) will be destroyed, and both will happen in your name.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that there’s a difference between capital punishment and abortion. In abortion, the person dying is unilaterally innocent. In capital punishment, the system has found the person dying to be guilty, almost always of taking someone else’s life.
That’s true. But this isn’t about whether the life in question is sacred or worthy of God’s love, and in turn, your love. This is about whether your morality, your ethics, your love extend to those who, in your estimation, don’t deserve it.
Your beliefs about abortion come from your desire to protect a sacred life. But your Bible says that all lives are sacred. So how exactly do you justify being in favor of capital punishment? If you don’t think it’s right for a scared, pregnant girl to “play God,” then why do you support the government playing God on your behalf in the arena of criminal justice?
Again, I am okay with anyone feeling anyway about anything. This is a democracy. I care more about the will of the people than I care about your particular ideology. I’m just asking you to consider the ridiculously palpable cognitive dissonance. More than that, I want you to ask yourself how exactly you plan to explain yourself when your peace-loving, anti-revenge, put-his-money-where-his-mouth-was Messiah returns to Earth.
“…another hungry mouth to feed…” In The Ghetto, Elvis Presley
So you’re against innocents being punished for the sins of someone else, right? So that must mean that you want to make sure that all children get fed, have great educations, and have equal access to healthcare, right? You certainly wouldn’t punish a child and condemn him to a life of poverty simply because his mom made bad decisions. You definitely wouldn’t predestine her to prison just because her dad spent his years in and out of the criminal justice system.
And you most assuredly wouldn’t keep someone from getting good preventative pediatric care, safe housing, and three square meals a day, just because his or her mom is a low-life.
Curious, then, how 81% of white evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Yes, that Donald Trump – the one that said of poor people, “How smart can they be? They’re morons.”
The same Donald Trump that said, “Our great African-American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore.”
The same Donald Trump that said, “…you can never be too greedy.”
The same Donald Trump that said, “Black guys counting my money! I hate it!”
The same Donald Trump that said, “Well, for once, the rich white man is in control.” Oh wait, that was Mr. Burns on The Simpsons. Never mind this one.
The same Donald Trump that sought to exclude welfare recipients from renting his properties.
Donald Trump has crafted a stage image as a “poor person’s idea of a rich person.” He’s kind of like a caricature of a rich man. Not unlike Monty Burns, now that I think of it.
Trump’s one of those guys who was born on third and thinks he hit a triple. And when you add up his persona, his speeches, his image, and some of his direct quotes, it’s easy to understand that 81% of the “born again” folks in this country voted for someone who thinks the poor folks deserve their lot in life.
So here’s my problem. You don’t want women to have abortions. In fact, you want the government to forcibly deny access. Fortunately, your guy agrees, going so far as to say that “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who would seek illegal abortions.
But as a Christian, you believe in the sanctity of all life, and you definitely wouldn’t want poor children being punished for the sins of their mothers and fathers. So, good for you, you voted for a guy with whom you align on one issue: abortion is wrong.
But you also voted for someone who wants to roll back just about every program ever created for the poor. You voted for the living, (heavily) breathing embodiment of the rich villain from a cartoon.
I’ve written before that I doubt seriously that Jesus himself would have voted for Mr. Trump.
I’ll take it a step farther. If you voted for Donald Trump in order to protect unborn fetuses because you believe life is sacred, you also ushered in the most dangerous person for those fetuses’ futures.
I’ve said it twice, and I’ll say it again: I’m not denigrating your moral stance on abortion. I’m denigrating your cognitive dissonance for being anti-abortion and anti-every program created to possibly help level the playing field for the less fortunate.
It’s worse than cognitively dissonant. It’s cruel.
Bottom line, if you are “pro-life,” I want you to consider what that really means. Are you truly in favor of protecting the sanctity of all life?
Would you consider what impact your demand for easy access to deadly weapons has on others’ lives?
Would you reflect upon how compatible with the teachings of Jesus it is to have the state kill criminals in your name?
Would you evaluate the fairness and morality of forcing children into the world, only to deprive them of food, shelter, clothing, education, or healthcare?
If you are pro-life, I ask you to be pro-all human life. Not just from conception to birth. From conception to natural death, and every minute in between.
Why? Because it’s hard to argue your own morality when you consistently support objectively immoral points of view.
And it’s hard to call yourself “pro-life” when the pro-choice folks protect so much more of people’s lives than you do.