“’Oh Lord, let me forgive those who sin differently than I do.’ Now is the time for healing, not self-righteousness.” Susan Vogt
Let me begin by saying that I am fundamentally and unapologetically Pro-Life. When it comes to the right to life, I believe, at the deepest and truest part of my being, that all life must be valued equally. Every life. No exceptions. Black, White, Blue…Male, Female, Trans…Gay, Straight, Bi…Rich, Poor, (Is there still a middle class?) …Handicapped, Able-bodied, Young, Old, Healthy, Sick… Democrat, Republican, Independent… Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Atheist…Saints, Sinners, Criminals…Born, Unborn…Mothers, Babies…
All life must be weighed equally and must be protected with equal justice under the law. That’s what is says, written in stone above the steps of the Supreme Court building: “Equal Justice Under Law.” It looms large above us in granite, and it is the very foundation on which this country was built: “all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” How did we get here?... Carving away at what binds us together. In the name of liberty we sacrifice life itself.
And let’s be very clear because it’s vitally important: It IS human. And it IS life. Science proves this: It is human life. This is a human rights issue that transcends religion. I dare you to watch a video of an abortion and tell me you can vote for that. In the name of helping someone, of protecting their rights, we are expected to allow them, or more accurately, someone else who profits from their fear, to do that to another human life? God forbid. May the law of the land forbid. May hearts be changed.
It mystifies me that some of the most social justice minded people in the country will fight so doggedly for certain classes of people but are willing to permit the systematic slaughter of millions of these very same lives. One look at the statistics reveals that those affected are disproportionately poor, minority. We are talking about a holocaust of epic proportion. By some estimates as many as fifty million human lives in my lifetime. It is truly horrifying and history will judge us. I am compelled to be counted among the dissenters.
So yes, I am a single-issue voter. It is illogical for me to consider any other issue prior to ensuring the right to life of all lives. The most basic right to life has no other moral equivalency. God help me, I cannot, in good conscience, ever, cast my vote for anyone who does not recognize this issue as being of primary importance.
So where does that leave me this year?…
My only other “viable choice” on the ballot is a man who regularly behaves worse than my teenage boys on their worst days. Petulant, crass and impulsive at best, racist and misogynistic at worst. While I have a clear understanding of what I cannot do, I have no idea what I can do.
But can I tell you what concerns me even more than this “choice” between a slow, and a selective chipping away at the roof over our head, versus a swift and systematic smashing of the very ground beneath our feet?...
For years I have felt the enemy lurking from the outside. It was Other. It was Institutional. Political. Ideological. For years I have felt pushed to the fringes of a secular society based on my religious beliefs. In the wonderful world of unreality I imagined that it would draw us closer together…
But more recently I have felt personally singled out by fellow Christians angered that I could even consider casting a vote for Trump. Confronted by both strangers and friends alike, who all but wag their finger at me in contempt: You call yourself a Christian, you hypocrite. They challenge the goodness of all Pro-Lifers, wondering aloud and in print what we have done to help the least of these. Am I expected to justify my position with an accounting of good deeds? Should I create a curriculum vitae in order to apply for the position of Pro-Life?
This is an accusation I expect from people outside the church: “Show me how Christian you are, you hypocrite!” It scares me that it comes from “within.” From people who are supposed to understand that I call myself Christian not because I think I am perfect, or even better, but precisely because I know that I am in need of forgiveness, of mercy and redemption. While I have been focused on coming to terms with being separated from the world it appears that the enemy is going to cut deeper than I anticipated. For the first time in my life I am beginning to grasp a basic tenant of my faith, that I am required to stand with most vulnerable and despised among us and that doing so will, necessarily, make me vulnerable and despised.
It’s the Dark Knight’sdilemma all over again (sans the movie popcorn): a boat full of deplorables and boat full of self-righteous “innocents.” Both boats have been rigged to blow. We get to vote which one. Meanwhile, the enemy feeds the voters fear, pitting them against one another, effectively forcing them into a false dichotomy of his choosing: Us, or them. Somebody’s going to go down. Refuse to vote and everybody goes down.
What is a Christian to do?
I for one refuse to play the devil’s game. Cast my character among the convicts and push the button if you must. I await a hero. He has promised that not even the gates of hell can sink this Ship of sinners and I believe Him. Mine is not a celluloid savior. But here’s the rub: I must be prepared to pick up His cross and die with Him a convict and a hero rather than live long enough to become the villain. Either way, we must acknowledge the inevitable: everybody dies. But it is not the Dark Knight that rises.