We Can’t Help You: Jesus Tell Us So

We Can’t Help You: Jesus Tell Us So July 17, 2018

We can’t help you. Now, if you are rich, if you are moneyed, if you think gays are intrinsically disordered and people of color should stay out of the US and are still quietly sure that women are second class but are losing courage to say it out loud because the #metoo’ers are making too much noise, then the good religious folk can create laws to help you get richer and buy more political power and oppress women more and keep people of color out of our oh-so-lily white nation.

Yes, we can help you then.

But otherwise, we can’t help you. Jesus told us so.


The people of Ireland revolt against the "we can't help you" stance of the church.
The people of Ireland revolt against the “we can’t help you” stance of the church.

I, as a person of faith, I horrified by the possibility of the US becoming a church-run state with religious groups dictating social policy. And here’s why.

One woman’s unnecessary death, which had to be laid directly at the feet of the Roman Catholic church, woke up Ireland.  In an unexpectedly lopsided vote this past May, citizens there soundly rejected the absolute ban on abortion. The Catholic Church, until recently the most potent social force in Ireland, had demanded and enforced that ban.

The woman who died, Savita Halappanavar, was in her 17th week of pregnancy. She began to miscarry. She and her husband want to the hospital. Medical staff confirm the imminent miscarriage. They also inform the grieving parents that, although the fetus could not survive, they would not perform an abortion. They could hear a heartbeat.

Six days later, the doctors finally agree to remove the contents of Savita’s womb, i.e., the decayed remains of the fetus. She died the next day of septicemia.

This phrase leaped off the page of the news report: “. . . she and her husband were told, ‘This is a Catholic country, we can’t help you.’”

This worst of religious practices galvanized Ireland: “We can’t help you (women, immigrants, children, the poor, those of other religious groups) because we are (pick one), Catholic, Evangelical, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or any other group that routinely relegates a people group to the category of “not fully human.”

The Roman Catholics long mastered the art of keeping women from the “fully human” status, as pregnant women are considered little more than mindless vessels required to reproduce multiple baby Catholics. The Evangelical arm of US Christianity is right there with them, except they want Protestant babies, not Catholic ones.

Oh, and gays most definitely are not fully human. Pope Francis recently warned Italian bishops to carefully vet applicants to the priesthood and reject anyone they suspected might be homosexual.

We can’t help you because the Bible says we can’t.

Jeff Sessions, reportedly a devoted United Methodist, used that excuse when he said that the Bible told him that we couldn’t help refugees from other countries seeking legal asylum here.

And it’s not just Christians. I keep reading the horrors revealed in Bangladesh where the Muslim Rohingya refugees have fled the genocide perpetrated by the Buddhist nation of Myanmar.

Read one tiny glimpse of life from a woman, Noor, who managed to escape:

In the refugee camp, Noor never got enough to eat so she mistook the fluttering feeling in her abdomen for hunger. But when it became the more insistent push of a fetus, the teenager could not ignore the sensation any longer.

Myanmar soldiers, in their telltale green uniforms, had raped Noor for days last year — first in her village home, then in the forest, she said. She then fled along with some 700,000 other Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh, where she now lives in the world’s largest refugee settlement.

And the Rohingya’s are hardly innocent. They, driven by their Muslim faith, have slaughtered vast numbers of neighboring Hindu’s. Not to mention that, as practicing Muslims, they blame women for getting raped. Their religious beliefs offer no space for support or sympathy to the victims, like Noor, of the Buddhist rampage.

You see, for women who have been forcibly raped and especially for those impregnated by violent acts, “We can’t help you because we are Muslim.”

Religion, at its best, paves the way for heaven and earth to kiss. But at its worst, it paves the way for hell and earth to kill.

“Bible-believing” people can say to all depressed and often suicidal teens dealing with gender identity problems, “We can’t help you because we are Evangelicals (with the unspoken amendment ‘and we think you are going to hell anyway, so go ahead and kill yourself’).”

We can’t help you because you are a woman and only your womb matters.

We can’t help you because you don’t fit our definition of what how a fully human person looks.

We can’t help you because . . . well, we’d rather stand by flawed interpretations of religious laws than courageously offer the compassionate hands and feet of God. Far easier to say, “We can’t help you.”

The people of Ireland have rightly revolted against a church-run state. But we are in danger as a nation of becoming Ireland at its repressive worst.

Now, if you are rich, if you are moneyed, if you think gays are intrinsically disordered and people of color should stay out of the US and are still quietly sure that women are second class but are losing courage to say it out loud because the #metoo’ers are making too much noise, then the good religious folk can create laws to help you get richer and buy more political power and oppress women more and keep people of color out of our oh-so-lily white nation.

Yes, we can help you then.

But otherwise, we can’t help you. Jesus told us so.


“Separate Church and State” Photo credit: infomatique on VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

“Savita Deserved Better” Photo credit: infomatique on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA


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  • The Mouse Avenger

    Oh, and gays most definitely are not fully human. Pope Francis recently warned Italian bishops to carefully vet applicants to the priesthood and reject anyone they suspected might be homosexual.

    Really? :O That is so disappointing… 🙁 I mean, just a few weeks ago, the Pope told a gay person that God had made him gay, & he didn’t judge him for being that way. I guess His Holiness is still struggling with the more-conservative views of GLBTQIA people espoused by his predecessors…It’s a shame, really. (shakes head sadly)

    Also, do forgive me if I sound harsh, but certain passages of this article seemed rather Islamophobic to me.

    • Ivan T. Errible

      The pope also tells people that god made them blind or deaf; very strange supreme being!

    • Barros Serrano

      You don’t mind criticizing Catholicism, but criticism of Islam represents some kind of “phobia”?

      Islam is rife with problems, far worse even than Christianity, I’d say.

  • Perry Lundon

    Whatever the outcome of how the impending hard right Supreme Court will deal with the issue of abortion always note that the wealthy got their abortions before Roe v Wade and they will get them if we go back to the days before Roe v Wade.

    • Yeah, I know. The rich will always be able to get their abortions for their little girls. It’s the poor who will suffer. Makes me furious.

      • pen44

        And, when each state is allowed to allow abortion or not, only those women who have enough money to travel from state to state will get one. This administration is taking us back to the killing years, the dying years!!!

      • R/R 2016

        Question: Could we, instead of speaking of birth as a consequence of sex and of child-rearing as an undue mode of suffering, usher in a change in the culture of parenting as that of an honorable enterprise of adulthood? Because this:

        “We can’t help you because you don’t fit our definition of what how a fully human person looks.”

        …is exactly the argument I see for denying human rights for the fetus.

      • Like I told you – they have forfeit their souls for worldly power. They will never see my Kingdom – I offered eternal paradise – they chose hell on Earth.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIC1OGHvAEQ

  • Linda Coleman Allen

    This is a great article and is well spoken on the subject. I thank God that some of our clergy have the strength to speak out on these subjects as too many people are being led astray.

  • Shawn Willis

    How do you not see that the behaviour you decry and want stopped is the DIRECT RESULT of 21st century adults accepting the truth and authority of a collection of incoherent writings of ancient Middle Eastern peasants and Roman politicians? Drop the pretence that YOUR understanding of this gibberish is superior and just drop the whole ridiculous ideology which has produced immeasurable human suffering for 2000 years already. You’re almost there, just go the rest of the way.

    • Barros Serrano

      You’re ignoring that there are Christians who wish for the church (in this case the UMC) to be sane and not a fascist Roman imperialist cult as it has usually been.

      You think liberals should all abandon their churches? Then we’ll have a nation in which every church is a nest of rightwing psychoses. Not good.

  • Brianna LaPoint

    i find it telling that people think the Buddhists in Myanmar are the bad people here. There are two sides to every story, and the sad truth is, Christians are closer to Muslims in ideologies than Buddhists.

    • Barros Serrano

      The author mentioned very clearly that the Rohingya were also guilty… of massacring Hindus.

      I think that many were shocked to see Buddhists behaving badly, in Myanmar as in the war against the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, since it is so common to see that behavior from Christians and Moslems.

  • Brianna LaPoint

    I cannot fathom how people can knowingly tell about the ills of christian teachings, and yet remain as such. It is their choice, but it is also mine to reject such things.

  • David

    wow, must be easy to condemn everyone else when you are perfect. Gross generalizations make the whole thing meaningless. But it seems to me that’s the point here in “progressive” land.

    • Barros Serrano

      It is easy to condemn conservatives, as they are very blatantly and obviously evil.

  • Jeremy Valentiner

    >”Religion, at its best, paves the way for heaven and earth to kiss. But at its worst, it paves the way for hell and earth to kill. . . .

    >We can’t help you because . . . well, we’d rather stand by flawed interpretations of religious laws than courageously offer the compassionate hands and feet of God. Far easier to say, ‘We can’t help you.’”

    Sadly, this is too true in many parts of America today. I wish it wasn’t, but it is. I wholeheartedly agree with this:

    >”I, as a person of faith, I horrified by the possibility of the US becoming a church-run state with religious groups dictating social policy.”

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  • Ivan T. Errible

    Separate church and state? Fantastic-separate tax breaks and housing allowances from all religions asap.