Link for this week

9 11 2010

From here

Christian conservatives in this country would generally be horrified to offer the benefits to pregnant women that are offered in much of Western Europe (where, in most countries, third trimester abortion is against the law – for all that you hear about Russia and abortion, most American Christians who like to bitch about Russian abortions do not know that in Russia and in most of the former Soviet states abortion is illegal after 12 weeks of pregnancy, in Germany it is illegal after 14 weeks – while 36 U.S. states prohibit 3rd trimester abortion, the states that do allow it account for nearly half of the U.S. population – and no U.S. state bans abortions prior to 20 weeks), but the irony is that America, with the most vocal and active pro-life activism in the world, has abortion policies which are among the most draconian in the world. In most of Europe, there are substantial material benefits for women in their third trimester of pregnancy, and for a time (9 months to 5 years) after the birth of their child. In the United States we offer little in comparison by way of benefits to pregnant women and new mothers, and we “produce” the vast majority of the third trimester fetal tissue bought and used for research in the world. But yes, I know, why should Christians have to pay taxes for mothers to not kill their own children? Yeah, sure. So instead we will support a political party which will offer them easy and bad credit, will send them and/or what children they do have off to fight pointless wars, will help them get diabetes from all of their consumption of cheap foods filled with Monsanto created high fructose corn syrup, and preaches the Gospel of work hard so that thou canst entertain thyself. People who have to work hard at shit jobs so that they can come home and watch cable while eating processed foods generally do not want to be bothered by small children. That is simply a reality. To reduce abortion, we have to increase rootedness. Stable jobs, stable communities, a large safety net for pregnant women and families with small children. But of course, some American welfare policies in the past have led to increased unrootedness, and that must mean that all state interference will destroy families, even restricting corporate manipulation of family life. Good grief. That some pro-life congressmen and women have been elected (even a couple blacks, yippee!) is neither here nor there with regard to the creation of a culture that supports family life. A pro-life Republican will inevitably vote for policies as hostile to a family seeking rootedness and stability as those Democrats so hated by the Dobsonistas, if not moreso.

I suppose all of this is why I am never prepared to automatically excommunicate people who vote for those who defend abortion rights. It’s not that I think people in an ideal world should not ban abortion. It is more that I am highly skeptical that anyone means business anymore. It is more a way to just score points: an exercise in cheap virtue.

My solution, like I said last week, is just not to vote.



4 responses

10 11 2010
Charles Curtis

(I’ve cross posted this on my blog and Och’s.)

I’ve been thinking about these posts, in light of my reading of both of your blogs this last year or more..

And while I’m feeling you both, as I sit here thinking about it, I have to react critically.

To just sit here, to disengage and accept “political” defeat, cast in ultimately apocalyptic terms strikes me as an abdication. The “hierarchical” Church (in all its “iterations” Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant) has from the very beginning (from the very Crucifixion) had a broad tendency (at least 11 in 12) to abdicate it’s prophetic charge, settling more often than not for a politically complacent stance that risks very little to nothing for most of us, excepting only those prophetic few who by their extraordinary cooperation with grace and heroic love chosen to push back against the “kingdom of anti-christ” which (lets be very clear and honest) has been with us from the utter beginning up until right now, and will be to the Parousia. Because let’s be very real here, the martyrs and extreme hermits and monastics aside, our individual and collective “betrayal” has been very nearly perpetual. I put the word betrayal in scare quotes, because I think that the “donatistical” (as in Donatus Magnus of Casae Nigra, herisiarch) and the vaguely similar “orthodox” yet nearly puritanical paradigm that you two evoke here is somewhat dangerous, and I want to violently push back by saying that Christ’s mercy will – perhaps – be so oceanically (one might say torrentially, as a great baptismal flood) broad and profound so as to make that word (betrayal) be in carnal human terms – how to put this – tendentious, and very very subjective, to say the least.

I think that the tendency toward “orthodoxy” in the contemporary context (either on the Orthodox or Catholic or – I suppose Protestant – side) as well as any intellectual critic of religion carries very dangerous temptations. The battlefield here is not ultimately about things like “tradition” or liturgy or natural knowledge of the Faith. It is about love, which is about the union of ourselves with one another in Christ Himself.

Forgive me for saying this so ridiculously bald. I only put it so brutally like this because it seems to me you both discount the grace of humility.. If I may be so bold, hoping you both might forgive me for saying so.

We can all take the abortion crisis as a tragedy on par with the Holocaust. I agree with you. If we are truly Christians believing in the Incarnation at the moment of the Annunciation we can believe nothing else. The incarnation of each and every child ever conceived in the womb must be acknowledged, and will in fact (if what we hope is true) will be affirmed in the Judgment.

But the spite of satan has been corrupting us from the every moment of the fall, and this corruption has been apparent in every political association we (as a race) have ever formed. Even the Great “Orthodox” or “Catholic” Empires (those of the Greeks, Romans, Germans, Russians, etc.) or even (perhaps most especially) the governments who embraced the revolts of Luther, Zwingli and Calvin have been corrupted by sin.

Even in those idyllic states (as in ancient Israel herself) there have been need for politics.

And politics, by definition, is the art of compromise and battling in the town halls, parliaments (etc.) and – if the need be – streets.

Me, I feel the fight rising in me. I’m optimistic. The blasphemies limpness and tragedies that we have been collectively succumbing and blundering through seem to me to be building us to a bracing moment of clarity. We can hope to all embrace the yoke, and fight as have all those who have stood in meek ferocious love for that little virgin from some jackass hick town in the middle of nowhere whose love and obedience undid Eve’s revolt and saved the world. The poor and humble shall be freed. The proud and cruel shall be dispersed in a way that they will not understand.

I say that we not get all muddled and glum, as I think you are here, but look to the East.

Bless you both.

I need to thank you both for your blogs. I feel as if I have found friends, kindred spirits, who have thought and written better than I. You both have put words to my inchoate mind and heart.

For that, thank you.

I remain your both friend and admirer, Fitzhamilton.

9 11 2010

Opinions like those in the essay are also why I do not vote anymore. Since Roe v Wade the so called pro-life movement has gotten absolutely nothing.
“But we have to vote so that the president can appoint pro-life judges!” Yeah, how’s that working out for you; 8 years of a “conservative” president and very little changes in federal abortion law.

9 11 2010
Arturo Vasquez

I don’t believe in democracy, but if I did, I would want someone to give me a reason as to why I should want to vote at all, vote for so and so a person, and not just vote against someone. Also, if the whole anti-abortion cause is what people say it is: a fight against a “holocaust”, the “slavery isssue” of the 21st century, and so on, then why are we pussyfooting around in a voting booth? Why not plant bombs in abortion clinics, kidnap and assassinate abortion doctors and patients, and be willing to fight a civil war to end abortion? That’s how they ended slavery. I just find a significant gap between the rhetoric used and the actions that such a rhetoric would actually entail. Do you think that the actual Holocaust of six million Jews should have been fought out at the ballot box? Hey, we might actually save one or two Jews, and have the genocide end in, I don’t know, ten to twenty years if all the elections go the right way. The sense of moral urgency on the question is practically non-existent, so why should I take any of these political stances seriously. To vote in such a climate means that one has already capitulated to moral utilitarianism.

9 11 2010

I read the linked essay a couple of days ago, and it’s one of the best essays on the issue that I’ve seen lately. The parties have become binary, one-issue propaganda machines on abortion, while neither one actually wants to do anything to upset the status quo. Thus, one-issue voters become useful dupes, who’ll pretty much vote for Satan as long as he’s pro-life or pro-choice. Like you, I’m against abortion, but short of the ideal world, I don’t see it ever being resolved politically as things now stand. I just wish that more people would read posts like the one linked more often and actually think before pulling that lever in the voting booth. Or if they’re not going to think, then step away from the booth altogether.

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