Toward a Consistent Life Ethic

Toward a Consistent Life Ethic May 12, 2016

Thanks to the reckless stupidity of the Party of Personal Responsibility, Donald Trump has now ascended to the leadership, not only of the GOP, but of the ruins of the “prolife” movement and even of what millions of Americans call “conservative Christianity”. That is because no small number of self-described “conservative Christians”–including Catholics–now look to him and the Right Wing Noise Machine far more than to the Bible, the pope, or the Magisterium for their actual day-to-day moral guidance.  Indeed, some speak of him as the divinely appointed savior and Jesus as more of Messiah Emeritus.  Okay in a liberal peacenik way, but not as hot as The Donald.  Mostly He now serves to endorse Trump and give the Great Man’s adoring fans license to vibrate with ecstasy at the touch of his holy hands.

And why not?  Trump has, after all, led conservative Christians up an exceeding high mountain, showed  them all the kingdoms of the earth and promised them “I will make Christianity powerful again if you will bow down and worship me!”  How pro-Christian can you get?

Yes, the overwhelming sincerity of Trump’s Christian devotion–from his passion for “Two Corinthians” (something something freedom, cue red, white, and blue balloons), to his “favorite verse” (“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” since the “turn the other cheek” stuff is for wussy politically correct liberals), to his declaration that he has never seen a need to ask God for forgiveness--might give some people pause, but not some of the most important leaders in the Christian “prolife” movement.  And so the author of The Art of the Deal makes one thing exceedingly clear–a con man doesn’t merely lie to you: he gets you to lie to yourself.

For instance, Hadley Arkes offers what appears to be the Emerging Narrative from the “Vote Trump or the Baby Gets It” sector of the “prolife” movement:

“Mr. Trump is a wild card, but he is likely to sign pro-life measures, and he is seeking advice now from the right people to appoint a plausible successor to Justice Scalia. In this Guide for the Perplexed, we may find reason to bite our lips and take the Wild Card over the brutal Sure Thing on the other side.”

Wild card?

Puhleez: We know exactly what kind of man he is. A man who

And to this incomplete list of Trump’s grossly outrageous assaults on common decency, the bulk of the leadership of the “conservative Christian” and “prolife” movement– Priests for Life, Austin Ruse, the Susie B list, Fr. Peter West, Huckabee, Jindal and others–now tell us to add one more:  the preposterous fantasy that Trump is

  1. anything other than a cynical narcissistic baptized pagan with zero interest in the Christian tradition beyond what scraps he can exploit that get Christians to lie to themselves that he cares about them, and
  2. someone who has “changed” on abortion.

This is simply false.  Trump’s views on abortion are what they have always been: identical to those of Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Sure, there has been a whirlwind of pandering that led to him taking five different positions on abortion in the space of three days.  But the fact is, Trump finally settled on what we all know was always his real position: Change nothing and (implied in that) keep funding the fine work of Planned Parenthood. Like a good con man, he did not retract his more prolifey-sounding noises because he knew that most prolifers would do what they are, in fact, doing: get cold feet at that thought of not clinging to the GOP for salvation, grasp at them like straws and construct a fantasy that he has, in the words of Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life “evolved“. And he knew that all he would need would be a few leaders in the “prolife” movement to tell the faithful that he has “changed” (despite the mountain of evidence for the fact that the Dignity of the Human Person means virtually nothing to him)…

…and it would magically become the Will of Almighty God to vote for him.

And so the fast-growing myth on the “prolife” right is that we must cross our fingers and hope that this Rough but Noble Pagan will change into some kind of New Constantine and shelter the prolife movement and the unborn in the shadow of his wings once we give this barbarian nuclear launch codes.

(Of course, it goes without saying that change is absolutely impossible for the Democratic candidate, despite her equally pandering rhetoric about keeping abortion “rare”.  God only loves Republicans and exerts himself to change them.  If you advocate exactly the same preposterous strategy of hoping for a Hillary Damascus Road conversion to the New Mother Teresa you are [rightly] mocked.)

And so now we arrive at a historic moment in the history of the “prolife” movement, when the bankrupt counsel is yet again given (please God for the last time): “Just shut your eyes and lunge for the GOP or the baby gets it.”  And all on behalf of a transparent fraud we are lying ourselves into believing cares about the unborn or anybody else who is not an adjunct to his towering and selfish ego.

How did we get here?

More on that, next time.

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