Yes, Virginia, there is an adoption clause

Or, there could be if Senator Lucio has his way.

During a recent special session in our Sovereign State of Texas, which those of us down here know if the rest of you don't determines God's will for the world, one of our Democratic Senators upped the ante in Jesus' campaign to save the unborn by proposing a bill to require adoption training before granting abortions.

For pro-choice advocates, Lucio's new requirements would make getting an abortion even more cumbersome than that last sentence. The proposal is even more alarming having come from a Democrat, the only Democrat who voted for the onerous Republican plan that was railroaded through the legislature after two special sessions. The good news is, it has no chance of being passed.

I don't think it's all that bad an idea, however. It just needs some tweaking. Some Jesus tweaking. You see the Lucio's idea is still about forcing women to do things whether they want to or not, and forcing people was never Jesus' way, something pro-lifers never seem to get.

In my version of Lucio's bill, instead of forcing women who want an abortion to take an adoption seminar, I say we force legislators who force women to give birth to find adopters for those babies. And that means they have to sit through training on how to find suitable parents, how to train those parents to be responsible financially and how to plan for their adopted children's education, how to monitor those families unobtrusively to make sure the children are being cared for and loved.

This law will have to include an amendment that mandates Episcopalians can be loving Christian families too and that Jewish, Buddhist, agnostic and atheist mothers can have their children placed in homes of their faiths. Yes, I am a Christian, but Jesus would have been deeply offended had his disciples forced their children or spouses to follow him.

Of course, we don't want to raise taxes, so the law would have to mandate that legislators who stop women from having abortions pay for this out of their own pockets. But, hey, if it's important enough, you can make room for it in your budget.

So hats off to you, Senator Lucio. Jesus salutes you and I salute you. You had the right idea, you just needed to refine it a little. Remember who needs the real education. And while you're at it, you might be thinking about how to find adopters for those little babies yourself since you helped cut back access to care.

And help find more doctors for women and their children as well since their becoming fewer and further between in Texas. Unless you plan to pay for their health care out of your own pocket.

Or you plan to heal them all with your prayers.

Fools for Christ or just plain fools?

This week the Texas Senate struck the ultimate blow for Jesus. They banned tampons.

You can’t get more Christian than that. Except in my opinion, they didn't take it far enough.

For those of you who don't follow the defense of faith in Texas, you may need a little explanation. Texas wants to step to the forefront of the pro-life movement. As we all know, the newest commandment in the Bible is: “Thou shalt not have, or facilitate a woman's ability to have an abortion.” It is now at the top of the Eleven Commandments.1 With our governor Perry at the helm, Texas is declaring that all life is sacred, at least until it emerges from the womb. (In our defense, we have to execute someone.)

As a result, Texas has foregone federal health care funding to make sure women don't have access to family planning since that includes Planned Parenthood, an organization that supports abortion. But that wasn't enough. The Texas Legislature was so determined to ram through some of the most restrictive abortion legislation that they kicked aside their own legislative rules and even scheduled a second special session.

Jesus was the first issue on the agenda. They had to protect the unborn, and they railroaded through the legislation, squashing amendments and suppressing even the precious Republican filibuster. But somehow they feared one thing, protest. Not just protest, but protest by tampon. And so the senate banned the tampon.

As of Friday the tampon is banned in the Texas Senate.

That's right. Visitors can carry guns into the capitol, but not tampons. Women will be strip searched for tampons. I suppose they will erect tampon detectors at the entrances. They will have to remove tampon machines from the bathrooms. What next? Sanitary napkins? Will women will be allowed to bring their own rags?

Of course, if they really want to honor the scripture, the Senate didn't go far enough. The Law doesn't ban tampons, it doesn't even permit them. Women are supposed to quarantine themselves for seven days for the purposes of purification.

So I think the Senate should set up purification quarantines at the edge of town for menstruating women. Including legislators. They could call them cramp camps. I mean, who knows what a woman is likely to do when she gets it into her head to protest and she's menstruating. Do we really think relieving her of her tampon is enough? I'm trying to think like a fundamentalist Republican for Jesus here.

Oh, that's right. We wouldn't have women in the legislature because they should stay at home and obey their husbands. If they did, we wouldn't have these problems, like crazed pro-choice women running around throwing tampons in the Senate chambers. We wouldn't need to worry about abortions because all women would be at home and pregnant like they're supposed to be.

The issue may be moot. The Senate passed the abortion bill late Friday night, although I don't have news as to whether or not they repealed the tampon ban with the passage of the bill. I don't know why they should tie the ban to this one bill. I wouldn't be surprised if it remains in place, and if it doesn't, I'm sure someone will decide to reinstate it, It's just too good to lose.

Being raised Baptist Preacher's Kid (BPK), I know there's always at least one verse in scripture to justify ignoring the broad strokes of the Bible. It didn’t matter how dubious their point, my relatives could drag out one isolated dependent clause and slam it on the dinner table to prove their point only to be countered by a contrary dangling participle to prove the opposite.

And I can imagine even now the pro-life legislators defending their behavior with the verse in Corinthians about being “made a spectacle unto the world,” and “fools for Christ’s sake.” Of course Paul is referring to apostles and he juxtaposes the paradox of wisdom in Christ as well. I'm not sure even scripture gives a pass to making a total embarrassment of the faith. And this week, the Texas Senate came pretty close to doing just that.


1There had been an attempt to remove “Thou shalt not covet” from the list since the advertising industry depends on people coveting, including Christian advertisers such as Christian Mingle and all those religious music producers. The fact that eleven was more difficult to manage than ten made the covet removal lobby even stronger. But the fundamentalists toed the line and covet remained.back

 

Pharisees tinkering with time stamps

It's been quite a week for Republicans, both in nationally and in our own dear state of Texas. They waved the banner for the rule of law, which is very important to Republicans. The rule of law is essential to America and to Christianity itself. It’s at the heart of the Old Testament.

This is why the Republicans have been so keen to keep those indiscriminate, wanton fraudulent voters from the polls. You know, the poor blacks without drivers licenses who can't get off work and can't afford to pay for transportation to get to the polls anyway. And in Texas they were most incensed when Democrats skirted the rules of filibuster by trying to help Ft. Worth Senator Wendy Davis adjust her back brace during an abortion bill debate. They were so incensed that they started a ruckus that caused the session to run into overtime and cause their precious abortion bill to expire.

No problem. The Texas Republicans decided to pass the abortion bill and change the time stamp to show it was passed before midnight. Not illegal at all. Just a technicality. After all, they were Republicans and they could make the rules since they were the majority. Even after the game was over and they lost. So they changed the time stamp and declared victory.

It wasn't the first time they changed the rules during the game. The abortion bill had been defeated during the regular session because the Democrats managed to get enough Republicans to vote against the bill to keep it from coming to the floor. It seems the rule required a majority vote within the Senate. So the Republicans brought it up again during the special session, which isn't supposed to happen. The special session is supposed to be limited to bills the Governor calls for consideration. But they added it to the roster anyway.

Then the Republicans changed the rules of the Senate to allow the abortion bill to come to a vote if a majority of Republicans supported it. And it still went down in flames. Only to be resurrected by the miracle of a time stamp. Proving Jesus is on their side.

Except that those sneaky Democrats took photos of the bill with the original time stamp showing that it expired. So now the Republicans are relying on the miracle of Rick Perry who has called another special session, making sure the Republicans have an entire month to pass the abortion legislation that was tacked on as an afterthought and rammed through in violation of every procedural rule of the Texas Senate. And he rubbed it in at a pro-life rally by gleefully telling Senator Davis that she should be glad that her own mother, who struggled financially, didn’t abort her.

I can't help but feel a calculated heartlessness in these moves, no less calculated or cynical than the Roberts court, who cited the fact that the advances in minority access to the polls under the Voting Rights act prove it was never necessary and was unconstitutional. Even as the very states that the Civil Rights Act singled out are openly preparing to limit minority access to polls with voter i.d. challenges, redistricting, gerrymandering and probably changing polling locations, the Roberts court claims that the success of laws to stop these practices proves they will do no harm.

Clearly the Republicans believe the rule of law is for others and not for them. Should the rules prove an inconvenience for their agenda, they simply move them. Should the rules prove inadequate to stop behaviors they disapprove of, they move to make them harsher than ever.

They remind me of the Pharisees in Luke 11, who “make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but (whose) inward part is full of ravening and wickedness,” (39) and the lawyers who “lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers” (41). No, they don’t remind me. They are no different. This is not acceptable, and whether they wrap themselves in the rhetoric of law or Jesus they should be called for their hypocrisy.

On the other hand, the Roberts Court upheld some of the rights of same sex couples in marriage, probably because those rights involve white men. It was a 5-4 decision. You have to ask, and if you don't, I do. Is someone on the Republican side of the bench just the tiniest bit bicurious?

 

Is Pro-Life also Pro-Damnation?

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.


1Actually, Paul’s point was that sin is sin, and gossip is as heinous in the eyes of God as adultery. Or, to be more specific, without God’s grace we’d all be in deep shit, so don’t get on your high horse. Two church ladies clucking over Pastor Ellison’s possible indiscretions sin every bit as much as homosexual drug addicts stealing money from grandmothers to pay for the babies they want to adopt and raise into their flagrant flaming (or battle axe butch) lifestyles. back

2Nor should it be surprising that there are arguments about his methodology. In fact, I can’t recall a single controversial study that have people arguing over methodology from the Laffer Curve and Peltzman’s killer seat belt studies to studies linking tobacco to cancer and heart disease and studies on global warming.back