Fasting Friday: Isaiah 58 and a Reader’s Lament

Fasting Friday: Isaiah 58 and a Reader’s Lament March 6, 2020

A reader (who is Catholic and staunchly opposed to abortion) describes the real and lasting legacy of MAGA “prolife” Christian witness. She writes:

There’s a lot of phoniness in this world and all of it is irksome, but perhaps no phoniness is quite as nauseating as pro life phoniness.

I’m working poor and chronically ill. A few years back i was diagnosed with cancer and told I had a particularly virulent kind and needed surgery and follow up care pronto.

I was denied care at multiple institutions because i work ( I had earnings) but no health insurance. I think if I didn’t work I would have received care.

All my pro life Republican friends were totally on board with this.

And I can dig that. Poor, sick people have no value in the Ayn Rand worldview.
But then they talk about being pro life.


Here is the larval MAGA Cult shouting “Let him die!” in 2012 if somebody like my reader can’t afford health care.

That, not saving the unborn, is what this parody of a “prolife” movement now stands for. It is about gluttony for power and money, not life, that the people my reader describes care. According to Isaiah, such people could starve themselves on every Friday of Lent, but it will never be a fast to the Lord:

“Cry aloud, spare not,
lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
Yet they seek me daily,
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments,
they delight to draw near to God.
“Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,

and oppress all your workers.
Behold, you fast only to quarrel
and to fight and to hit with wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a rush,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the LORD?

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you,
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am. (Is 58:1–9).

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