Four More Years and the Politics of Death
By Michael Heidt
Special to Virtueonline
November 12, 2012
Despite problems such as 8% unemployment, $16 trillion and counting national debt and a foreign policy that has left an American Ambassador murdered in Libya, President Obama was re-elected on November 6. Leaving aside such thorny issues as who will pay for the debt and why are Americans fighting Al Quaeda in Afghanistan while apparently arming them in Syria, Forward in Christ has to ask what this election means for traditional Christians. The outlook, I'm afraid, is bleak.
This is because the Democratic Party, with its enthusiastic support of America's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, has become, implicitly at least, an enemy of Christianity. It is so in terms of the governing principles and ethics it has co-opted from its favored organization and its willingness to enforce these, regardless of personal or religious freedom.
The principles in play are clear enough. Unlike the Republicans, the Obama Presidency is energetically pro-choice, believing, on the face of it, that a woman should have freedom over her body. But look where this "freedom" leads, right up to and including killing your unborn child. This isn't freedom in the Christian sense, which is the liberty to choose the good, but something altogether different, a radical personal autonomy unhindered by even the most basic tenets of conscience. As British occultist and libertine, Aleister Crowley, infamously put it, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."
Nothing could be further from Christianity, which takes as its reference those values shown to us by God and definitively revealed in and through His Incarnate Son. Our choice-driven government takes a different view. The self, what a person wants to do, is seen as the final arbiter of things, not God, His Son, or even some standard of truth outside ourselves. That such belief is anti-Christian is unquestionable, so too are the ethics, or ways of behaving, that it engenders and makes legitimate.
The rhetoric of Planned Parenthood, which is now the publicly endorsed language of our elected government, makes this clear. Having the right to choose translates into a woman being able to do whatever she pleases with her body and the more the better. Anything else is a violation of her freedom, and we've seen the outcome. As the deranged Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment is driven to prove his autonomy by murder, so too is a woman guaranteed a place in the abortion clinic. Nothing, not even a mother's instinctive love of her child in the womb, much less divinely revealed virtues or the sanctity of life itself, must be allowed to stand in her way. They aren't.
In an ethical system whose hallmark is untrammeled freedom of choice, or autonomy, murder of the unborn child becomes an exercise in liberty and women's health. And there's a perverse logic in the euphemism; any curtailment of the "freedom" in question must be bad or unhealthy, because it contradicts the central tenet of the system, namely the ability to choose as we will. But let's be honest and not try to pretend that this is Christian and somehow in agreement with the biblical commandment forbidding murder. On the contrary, it is the polar opposite, but evil has, for the party in question, become the good and in pursuit of this followed the old maxim that "error has no rights."
Accordingly, our current pro-choice government is ironically prepared to enforce its agenda with the full coercive powers of the state, regardless of personal or religious conscience. And this is not an exaggeration but a statement of fact. All organizations and those who belong to them, will now have no choice but to pay for a healthcare solution that includes insurance coverage for abortifacients. Failure to do so will result in crippling fines and so, at a legislative stroke, not only the entire edifice of Roman Catholic healthcare and education runs the risk of being shut down, but so too does any employer of relevant size that has the temerity to stand for the unborn child.
Such organizations, insofar as they occupy significant space in the public square, will be driven from it. They have no rights in this regard because they have committed a sin against the autonomy that lies at the heart of the project in question and must either recant or be shut down. Tyranny, we discover, runs close on the heels of wickedness. What does this mean?
Most obviously, that a state which has lost its moorings in Christianity should not be expected to behave as though it hadn't. With that in mind, do not be surprised when preaching for the Christian doctrine of marriage, for example, and against its opposite, becomes a "hate crime." As we've seen with a woman's right to choose, freedom of religious conscience is not a factor in the implementation of the left's secular principles.
This leaves the Christian in an unenviable place; either jettison your faith and get along with the secular power, or not. Some, such as the Episcopal Church, have chosen the former option, others, such as the Roman Catholic hierarchy, the latter. This has so far reacted with great clarity, recommending civil disobedience rather than compromise with an anti-Christian state. Orthodox-minded Evangelicals too, who care about scripture, the sacredness of life and religious freedom, have urged the same thing.
The same holds true for traditional Anglicans, not least in the Anglican Church in North America and Forward in Faith. It remains to be seen whether our newly elected government will have the courage of its convictions to imprison Bishops and Pastors for their belief and if it does, whether public opinion would stand with them.
But one thing is certain. A clash of ideologies, between Christianity and its opposite, is here; we must pray for the courage and grace to stand true to the Faith and the life, liberty and happiness it, and it alone, can truly give.
The Rev. Michael Heidt is the Editor of Forward in Christ. He is based in Ft. Worth and is a parish priest in the Diocese of Ft. Worth
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