Hardly a week goes by in my peaceful reflections on the faith when I don’t find myself distracted by the Christian Charity of the Republicans. To be honest, I can already hear half of my two readers going, “There he goes again, Republican bashing for Jesus.”
That’s exactly how I feel whenever Republicans get indignant about some little thing, which is just about every half hour.
What would Jesus do? He would say, “Get over it. The kingdom of God is greater than this.” But I was raised a Baptist Preacher’s Kid (BPK), where indignation is a product of both inbreeding and indoctrination. Not cousin inbreeding; indignant Christian inbreeding. The day we Baptists don’t find something to get indignant over is the day we die, and then we’ll probably get indignant if St. Peter doesn’t show up to escort us personally into God’s throne room.
Only Baptists don’t believe in Saints, that’s a Catholic thing. So, St. Peter’s definitely not going to show up for us, and we’ll have to be doubly indignant because the insult is our own damn fault, and even though we only have ourselves to blame, it’s easier just to blame liberals. (After all, Jesus forgives Christians. He doesn’t forgive the Left.)
Remember the story of the good Samaritan? The guy who took care of the sick and injured man when nobody else would? The Samaritan in the story would be the equivalent in today’s society of a Moslem or secular humanist. The nobody else in today’s society would be Christians, who just walked by willing to let the poor guy lay there and suffer or even die.
An example of this is the recent Republican rider in a Texas bill on hospital funding. The rider would deny funding to hospitals if they pay for elective abortions. In other words, in the name of Jesus and life, we will deny health care funding to those in need, mainly patients who have no influence on hospital policy, because we think that policy isn’t Christian.
And that means they would deny care to many fellow Christians. That’s right, Republicans would let their fellow Christians, not to mention poorer Republicans, lose access to hospital services because a not-quite baby might die.
But last week they hit a wrinkle. After the bill went to committee, it came back with an amendment. Hospitals could pay for abortions if there is “an irreversible abnormality that is incompatible with life after birth.”
According to the American Statesman, Republicans have split over this new language and that could jeopardize the bill’s passage. Rep. Brian Hughes has thinks this new language would create too big a loophole thanks to the powerful hospital lobby. A lobby that has been so powerful they couldn’t prevent hospitals losing their funding if they pay for elective abortions.
Hughes has a interesting rationale for his position. “We want to err on the side of life. The language is so broad that it would compel tax payers to pay for abortions on disabled children.” (my emphasis).
Well, not exactly. Isn’t that one of those super-superlatives like “most excellent” or “better than perfect?” Are we honestly going to say it’s worse to kill a disabled child than a child who would otherwise be healthy? This seems dangerously like mindless spin. It makes no sense whatsoever, but it sure triggers the heartstrings of faith.
It irritates many Christians to be reminded that the Bible is essentially silent on the question of abortion. Jesus never thought it was important enough to go on record (although, admittedly, he never went on record about anything) and, if he did express his thoughts on the subject, none of the Gospel authors thought it was important enough to write down.
Paul, who did go on the record by putting his thoughts in letters, never thought it important enough to mention. Nor did any other New Testament writer. Paul didn’t even list abortion in his long catalogue of sins (where homosexual behavior, adultery and gossip were all catalogued as equally culpable). So clearly Paul thought gossip was worth mentioning, but abortion wasn’t.1
I do know Jesus never forced his morality on anyone. His philosophy was, if they don’t like you, dust off your feet and move on.
I do know Jesus would have held Christians accountable for the children they brought into this world. And I suspect he would say, if we make a mother bring a child to term, we now become that child’s parent—which means we feed, clothe, educate and raise them in the faith.
Here’s what I don’t get about the supposed pro-life position. If a child doesn’t come to term, he or she is off the hook as far as salvation goes. God takes care of the unborn and infant children, welcoming them directly to his bosom.
But if Christians force a mother to give birth, and then fail to adopt the children and raise them into the faith, aren’t they, in essence, putting their very souls at risk? These children, often raised in poverty, also often grow into lives of crime.
Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics, suggested a definite correlation between abortion and crime rates. The theory is controversial and he would be the first to say this is not an argument for legalizing abortion. Of course, a lot of people have suggested his study isn’t on the level.2 But if you were to ask anyone if they believed a child, especially a Black or Hispanic child born into poverty, isn’t at risk for gang membership, a life of crime and the chance of being killed in the barrio or hood, they would have to be delusional to say no.
Even worse, if the soon-to-be-born are the children of rich spoiled women too lazy to be mothers (assuming they won’t pay for their own abortions elsewhere), aren’t the children likely to grow up neglected, jaded and ultimately liberals?
In other words, there’s a good chance that this gift of life is also a ticket to damnation, forced into their hands after stealing their free pass to heaven. If God considers the souls we saved in the final accounting, should he not also consider the souls we forced into life and then abandoned on the highway to hell?
So I have to wonder why so many Christians feel it’s their responsibility to bring unwanted children to term, yet are strangely willing to abandon their physical and spiritual needs as living beings. In the parable of the good Samaritan, the Samaritan realized it wasn’t enough to simply rescue the fallen man. He knew he was responsible for nursing him back to health and seeing to his needs.
And you, Rep. Hughes, and all of your like-minded representative buddies, should consider the morality of denying funding for health services to hospitals, denying children (including children forced to term), Christians, Republicans and Texans access to care for policies they have no power to change.