Rebecca Hamilton is a former pro-abortion activist and leader. As the Oklahoma Director of NARAL, she helped establish the first abortion clinic in Oklahoma, and she continued her activism after being elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. After experiencing a profound conversion to Christ, voters returned her to office as a pro-life Democrat and she spent twelve years defending life and families in the Oklahoma Legislature. Rebecca left her political career in 2014, and along with the National Catholic Register, she writes at Patheos on her blog Public Catholic.
My Grandmother used to say, “That’s like a choice between hanging and a firing squad.”
I wrote a post decrying the lack of a single, unifying objective for the pro-life movement. I also asked readers to offer their thoughts about how to word such an objective for the pro-life movement. I was looking for a one-sentence objective, something on which we could hang discussions about strategies and tactics. The resulting discussion in the comboxes was most edifying.
As people settled into a discursive back and forth, it became obvious that they thought being pro-life in the political sense does not mean protecting human life from conception to natural death. Rather, it means choosing whether to kill the child with abortion or to deny the child the basics of life after birth. It’s as if Satan himself set up the choices for pro-life people, which, in a way, is what has happened.
It appears that the two political parties so completely dominate our thinking when it comes to public policy that they are dictating the ideas we feel free to think. We not only don’t think outside the little boxes they’ve put us in, we don’t remember that there is an outside to the box. This has become so rigid and overwhelming that people actually do not realize that the things both the parties are telling them are lies designed to control and manipulate the electorate so that the people who pull the strings can get power (and control of the national treasury) for themselves.
The two political parties — and their supporters, the mainstream media — have done a job on the people of this country. They have evidently convinced people that the self-serving claptrap they offer up are the only options possible. Intelligent, sincere people can’t have intelligent, sincere discussions because they are limiting themselves to party-straitjacket thinking. Instead of thinking for themselves, they spend their time debating and blah-blah-blahing about phoney-baloney, non-existent imperatives. They honestly seem to believe that the only political choices they have are to kill a child before birth (Democrats) or to allow the child to suffer from the extremes of neglect, poverty and hopelessness after it’s born (Republicans.)
Give. Me. A. Break.
Who told us that we have to choose between two such monstrous and amoral options? Why, the Republicans and the Democrats, of course. Who benefits from convincing us that these are the only choices we have? I’ll give you three guesses, and the first two don’t count.
It turns out that when I wrote that post, I accidentally designed a demonstration of the intellectual prison that the R and the D has built around the thinking of the American people. Here’s an idea: Let’s dropkick the party politics groupthink and be pro-life. Let’s refrain from killing our children before they are born and then provide them with the necessities of life after they are born, both at once. Let’s do it as if they were, you know, people. Let’s do it as if we were Christians.
Instead of engaging in endless, circular debates based on the twin imperatives the Rs and Ds have foisted upon us, let’s have a real discussion. Let’s talk about how we can both save babies’ lives before birth and how to provide them with a hope and a future after birth. While we’re at it, let’s talk about how we can do the same for the disabled, elderly and infirm among us. Life does not, as Barney Frank once said, begin at conception and end at birth. Life also does not begin at birth and end at infirmity.
Every human being has a right to life. There are no qualifiers. At the same time, every human being has basic human rights which, taken as a whole, add up to Jeremiah called “a hope and a future.” Again, there are no qualifiers. Even people who are in prison for heinous crimes have certain basic human rights which we violate on peril of our own immortal souls.
The Republicans and the Democrats don’t get to set limits on this with the polarizing garbage that they sell. It does not matter to me if you are a Republican or a Democrat. But I do care if you think for yourself. I care even more if you follow Christ. I know that in this post-Christian culture you cannot follow Christ and follow the culture, not any part of it, including both political parties. You must learn to discern the difference between political lies and the Way that Leads to Life. Stop letting the R and D do your thinking for you. Take the elephant or the donkey down off the altar of your heart and replace it with the cross.
In the interest of that discernment, let me pose a question. What do you consider the essentials, the basics that government must provide to every human person under its governance in order for the government to be truly pro-life? Would you take a shot at answering that question? I hope that you will not look to the R and D for your answers. Go instead to the cross. If He is Lord of your life, then you will find your answers in Him.