THE ABORTION ISSUE AND OTHER ISSUES OF SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ARE NOT ABOUT SEX AT ALL, BUT ABOUT POWER AND MONEY AND ABOUT STRIPPING WOMEN OF THEIR NEWLY DISCOVERED POLITICAL, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CLOUT
Imagine a Christian Church truly dedicated to Fighting poverty, where it is the duty of every believer to protect the environment, and where it is considered Godlike to oppose the illegal war in Iraq. Who would not be open to such a supportive fellowship, one that preaches loving your neighbor, helping your enemy and caring for the poor and outcast and is totally unconcerned with restricting your constitutionally guaranteed sexual and reproductive freedoms or denying those in alternative lifestyles the right to marry?
Could such a church exist?
Well it can and it does. This group is the Christian left and it seeking to carve out a place in the national dialogue for its values of peace and love, tolerance and mutual respect.
Recently representatives of this group met in Washington DC to plan its agenda. One of those attending, Dr. Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, calls this movement the “center-left” and noted that the purpose of the gathering is to seek the same political muscle as the conservative Christians now possess and in the opinion of this WebLog, constantly misuse.
In speaking to CBS News, Dr. Edgar, whose group represents over 50 million Christians, a large percentage of them mainline Protestants, observed that “Jesus never said one word about homosexuality, never said one word about civil marriage or abortion.” But interestingly enough, at least to this writer, he said reams about divorce, quite a common activity among members of Congress.
In an attempt to attract younger voters and politicians desiring the support of this group, leaders of the religious left are promoting common sense humanitarian issues like raising the minimum wage.
In making his case for the increase, Christian activist, Rev. Jim Wallis, referenced the nine million families in the United States who are working full time and still not making it. Commenting further, he noted that our government is financing a war that costs a billion dollars a week, but can not find $5 billion over ten years for childcare.
Normally most all religious movements disturb me and the result is that the editorial policy here at the LIB is to keep a close eye on these charlatans masquerading as men and women of God.
Personally, I find most religions to be a panacea for the weak, a place where men and women who are unwilling to lead their own life can turn the controls over to a charismatic religious leader who cons them into thinking that he or she has a direct pipeline to God.
Life, however, is not that simple. Black and white absolutes, no matter how convincingly promised by clergy do not exist. Real life is a study in grays. But the faithful, now reduced to mere drones, willingly suspend their disbelief and blindly follow the political and social agenda’s and promptings of their leaders and vote the way they are told to.
In this diminished state, they are incapable of seeing that the abortion issue and other issues of sexual and reproductive rights are not about sex at all, but about power and money and about stripping women of their newly discovered political, social and economic clout.
It all goes back to that line in the bible that commands that women be subservient to men. Here the similarities with the Muslem extremists are too close for comfort. But where the extremist Muslims make known right up front their position about women, extremist Christian fundamentalists hum and haw and largely sidestep the issue. But it does slip out.
But, for the record, while all of the proceeding is true, I am also old enough to remember the civil rights movement, the free speech movement and the opposition to the war in Vietnam , all movements driven by an active outspoken Christian left.
When I went to college in the late 60’s it was the era of the Daniel and Philip Berrigan, two Catholic Priests who together with Trappist monk Thomas Merton founded an interfaith coalition against the Vietnam War.
All three were involved with a variety of non-violent protests and the Berrigan brothers were jailed on numerous occasions for their activities, and these men were just the tip of a very large activist iceberg.
Other names memorialized from that tumultuous period that you might have heard of include: William Sloan Coffin, Martin Luther King Jr., and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to name but a few.
By 1980 however, the Christian left, tired from many hard fought battles, seemed to lose its identity. At about this time, their right wing brothers caught the ear of Ronald Regan and the rest is as they say, history.
Today these draconian preachers of hate and exclusion wield such clout that Republicans the nation over are clamoring to do their bidding and pocket their cash.
The result is a national agenda that day by day is working against women’s reproductive rights, against modern scientific advances such as stem cell research and the recently discovered vaccine to prevent Human papillomavirus and against the rights of all people to settle down and create family with the person of their choosing no matter their sexual orientation.
The fight to reclaim our country from the Christian Right and their supporters lies ahead. It will be fought at the polls, via the public airwaves and on WebLogs such as this one. From all early indications it will be bloody and drawn out.
Speaking as one man terrified by the potential for destruction the Christian right could unleash if their power continues to grow unabated, I welcome the reinvigorated Christian left. Not only will the additional bodies make the battle easier to win, but also, maybe some of those in the right will defect to this kinder gentler group.
One can only hope.
Denis Donovan - Editor