One of the troubles a libertarianized American faith gets into is the tendency to deal with sin on a libertarianized basis. Case in point: the tendency of conservative American prolifers to read this story and see it solely in terms of this woman’s responsibility and not at all in terms of the failure of our system to provide for the needs of struggling families. Essentially, the story is of a woman who made what she calls “the hardest decision of my life” to abort her child because of the lack of paid family leave.
Culture warriors eager to score points and fend off threats do not, of course, listen to her as a human being but see her simply as a foe to defeat. So we hear rejoinders immediately start with the usual palaver:
“That no excuse for killing your child!”
“Another pro-choice screed”.
“She is responsible for her own choices.”
“I’m prolife! It’s not my fault she killed her baby.”
“I would never abort based on finances. This is just a pro abortion propaganda piece.”
And so forth. The goal in all such responses is not to see or hear her, but to engage her tactically. She is an opponent, a threat, a thing to fight and beat. She is not a human being in pain. So there can be no acknowledgement, for instance, of the fact that her calling it “the hardest decision of my life” places her, not in the eagerly pro-choice camp of the enemy, but in the camp of those who were naturally prolife and who were failed by the allegedly “prolife” movement. Libertarianized theology cannot and must not permit itself to assume any responsibility for failing those it claims to help. It must expel its victims from the Camp of the Righteous.
I want to argue that this “Am I my brother’s keeper?” contempt for love of neighbor is the central failure of the intensely politicized “prolife” movement, especially in its MAGA expression, because MAGA exists, not to defend the unborn, and still less the mother of the unborn. It exists to use the unborn as human shields for the nihilistic and predatory ends of the GOP. And this has been the case for decades.
Here’s reality, according to the teaching of Jesus Christ, who MAGA antichrist worshippers deny by their actions every day:
Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. (Lk 17:1–2).
If you think Jesus’ words are directed at her and not at those who forced her into this position, you are simply twisting his words to salve your guilty conscience. Jesus’ entire point in this saying is not to do the cheap and easy thing of fixing blame for sin solely on the sinner, but to force his disciples to ask themselves, “How did I contribute to making this sin happen?”
The Party of Personal Responsibility loves to blame the poor for their sins almost as much as it loves claiming “total authority” while simultaneously insisting it does not”take responsibility at all.” This did not originate with Trump. It merely finds its apotheosis in him. Right wing obsession with attacking the supply of abortion while eagerly pursuing policies that increase demand is decades old. Often that war on supply is a deliberate distraction from the issue of demand because the MAGA “prolife” Cult love and have backed for decades sadistic policies which are about greed and punishment of the poor even if it forces them to abort.
Here’s the truth: What those who read this as “just a pro abortion propaganda piece” consistently fail to acknowledge is that it is nothing of the kind. What it is, the only thing it is, is an appeal for Paid Family Leave. And because refusing that to the poor matters vastly more to them than the unborn child they claim to care about, they brandish that child as a human shield, not in order to defend the child from abortion, but in order to shout down the demand for Paid Family Leave.
This, every single time, is the sleight of hand performed by the MAGA cult. They lie to you that defense of the unborn is their #1 priority, their “non-negotiable”. If it were, they would simply agree that Paid Family Leave would have saved that child’s life and would be out fighting for it in order to prevent the next abortion.
But that child is not the priority of the MAGA Death Cult. Defending whatever chintziness, or cruelty, or lie Trump or the GOP Crime Syndicate is up to today is their non-negotiable #1 priority. The unborn are simply the human shields for that.
Genuine Consistent Ethic of Life teaching says that life is more important than Mammon. So it fights for Paid Family Leave and Universal Health Care in order to relieve pressure on the poor to abort. For the same reason, it opposes the MAGA “prolife” Cult’s demand to send the poor out to die of COVID for the sake of MAGA stock portfolios. The Consistent Life Ethic–which is Catholic teaching–is consistent.
The MAGA Cult–which is an antichrist cult of lies and death–has no consistent principles. It has, rather, a goal: nihilistic predatory power. It is as empty as the Eye of Sauron.