It is hard not to argue that conservative Christians led the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade — whether they be evangelicals, Roman Catholics, Mormons or Eastern Orthodox. Since the rise of the Moral Majority, Paul Weyrich, the Christian Coalition or Trump Republicans, abortion has been the cry that has rallied them to vote in a single direction.
A second rallying cry by the Religious Right was about activist judges. The deafening silence about judicial activism in the current climate, now that they have a Supreme Court majority, is as evident as the daylight sun.
“The deafening silence about judicial activism in the current climate, now that they have a Supreme Court majority, is as evident as the daylight sun.”
So how did we get to this point where Roe v. Wade is not the established law of the land? Simple. Activist judges proposed and supported by the anti-abortion lobby and enabled by the unprincipled manipulations of a Republican Senate. One cannot deny that.
It began with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would not give President Barack Obama’s pick, Judge Merrick Garland, the courtesy of a hearing, quoting a principle that had never been one — the Biden Rule. It doesn’t take a student of history to note that no such rule has guided either party when a federal court appointee needed to be confirmed. It was a dumb argument subscribed to by stupid people, and sadly most of those people were — yes, you guessed it — the Religious Right.
With Merrick Garland out of the way, the majority rushed through hearings for Justice Neil Gorsuch, followed by the suspect abrupt resignation of Justice Kennedy (whose son by the way was being investigated at that time by the Justice Department for his dealings with Deutsch Bank, and interestingly that investigation promptly died down). This was followed by the nomination and confirmation of Justice Brett Cavanaugh, a person who publicly stated that Roe v. Wade was a decided precedent (and a person whose $200,000 personal debt immediately vanished, and no one to this day knows what happened).
Can one imagine a nominee of a Democrat president who would be considered so irresponsible that they piled up this kind of debt buying, of all things, tickets to the Washington Nationals games? But I digress. Remember that the Religious Right is incapable of applying principles universally.
“Remember that the Religious Right is incapable of applying principles universally.”
The final straw was the untimely and unfortunate death of Justice Ruth Ginsberg just before the election. Do you remember the Biden Rule I mentioned earlier? Sen. McConnell’s dementia must have caught up with him, as neither he nor his supporters brought that up. Justice Amy Barrett was confirmed at the last minute, just cementing a 6–3 majority of people who claim to subscribe to “originalism.”
It should be noted that two of those six justices — Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Amy Barrett — would have been considered unworthy of, and ineligible for, any government post in 1787. But I digress again. Remember that principle is as foreign to the Religious Right and Republicans as marital fidelity was to Hugh Hefner.
And so here we are. Roe v. Wade is no longer the established law of the land. Nearly 40% of the states within these Untied States of America are in the process of establishing laws that will ban the rights of women over their own bodies. I am being realistic when I say I do not expect this to end here and believe this will affect other rights that fall within individual sovereignty.
To be fair, I am writing less about the anti-abortion movement and more about the principles that led to this point. The question to ask is whether the end justifies the means. For the Christian Right, Mathew 7:2-3 should be a front-of-mind question, “For, in the same way, you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
Does principle matter to the Christian right? At the present moment, all evidence points to a resounding “No!”
And for people who think this ends here, or if they have any doubts about the real “pro-life” position of these people, one doesn’t have to look any further than their attitude toward people who have come out of the womb and don’t fit their model of perfect human beings.
So, this is the stink that Christians, of every persuasion, will have to live with, in the immediate future. Their crowning achievement in the present course of history was established by the abandonment of principle.
“Run as far away as possible from these creeps. Don’t be tainted by association, and rather be defined by your underlying principles of love, grace and acceptance.”
Sadly, I also know of many genuine Christians — with true hearts to serve the poor and marginalized; people who do not subscribe to the unprincipled and prejudiced ways of the Christian right. For better or for worse, they also will be tainted. Why? Because if you choose a self-definition of any sort, you will be tainted by any negative brush that most of your group chooses to paint on itself. Your choice? Run as far away as possible from these creeps. Don’t be tainted by association, and rather be defined by your underlying principles of love, grace and acceptance.
In full disclosure, I have been a practicing evangelical Christian for most of my life, and I find myself realizing that the current, or recent, historical definition does not define me anymore. So, I am looking for a new definition while questioning why I need a definition in the first place. I am a human. Isn’t that enough?
So, the next time the Christian right claims principle or truth or righteousness, tell them to “buzz off.” Trust me, if they have any intelligence or critical thinking within them, they will understand. They know it is an act, and they would rather walk away than listen to the truth about themselves.
Phillip Thomas, originally from India, now makes America his home, along with his wife of 29 years and his three children, in the Philadelphia area. He works for a global bank and continues to wrestle with his faith and Christianity.
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