Special to WorldTribune, May 28, 2021
Commentary by Joe Schaeffer
An interesting personality trait of the abortion industry is its ongoing need to craft and promote a religious justification for itself.
Planned Parenthood and other large pro-abortion outfits have steadfastly maintained this charade in various forms for more than half a century even though it manifestly doesn’t move the needle with the public at large anymore. For example, the organization Catholics for Choice hasn’t been remotely relevant for some 30 years yet it is still around and being funded today.
One plausible theory for the continuation of what doesn’t amount to much more than a zombie PR campaign at this point is that it represents a tacit acknowledgement by pro-abortion forces of the supernatural plain on which the battle over the ongoing genocide of more than 60 million American babies since 1973 resides.
Perhaps that is the best way to read a May 2019 interview in The Atlantic with United Church of Christ “minister” Jes Kast titled “A Pastor’s Case for the Morality of Abortion.” Kim Hayes at LifeNews featured the interview in an article highlighting Planned Parenthood’s recent updating of its “Clergy Advocacy Board.”
An introductory paragraph lays out Kast’s bona fides for discussing the topic:
According to the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of people in the UCC, a small, progressive denomination with a little less than 1 million members, think abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Kast also serves on the clergy-advocacy board of Planned Parenthood, which works to “increase public awareness of the theological and moral basis for advocating reproductive health,” according to its website.
If you’re looking for deep theological insight, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Kast offers up nothing more than the usual feminist progressive “my body, my choice” prattling and weakly attempts to dress it up in the thinnest of Christian draping.
“I believe reproductive rights and bodily autonomy are deeply important,” she says. “I believe that is faithfulness to Christianity. I believe in access to safe and legal abortions. I believe that the person who can best make these decisions is the person who’s considering these decisions….
“I believe every person I encounter, including myself, has the right to their body. When that bodily autonomy is taken away, to me, that is against Christian scripture, and is against the Gospel I believe in.”
Kast’s Gospel of I is in need of some Biblical backing, at the very least. And so she attempts to oblige:
In Genesis, it says that God breathed God’s spirit into our lives — Christians would say “the Holy Spirit.” Because of that, we’re not puppets controlled by God. Because of the image of God in us, we have freedom. That’s what’s really clear to me, is freedom.
There’s this little passage in the Gospel of John that continues to stay with me. Jesus says, “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly.” The Greek word that’s used there for “life abundance” is this word zoe, which means not just that you’re living and breathing, but that God’s plan for our lives is to actually have a meaningful life with loving contentment and satisfaction.
Because of that — because I value life, and I believe Jesus values life — I value the choices that give us the type of life that we need.
There’s not a lot of complexity or nuance involved in Kast’s religion of the self, as the following exchange reveals:
Green: Do you think there’s any context in which it’s immoral to have an abortion?
Kast: That’s a really great question. Let me think if I do think that or not. Let me just be really thoughtful about that.
Kast: I don’t. I really don’t. I don’t think I do. For me, it’s a health-care issue. The best person to make that decision is the person who has to decide that. And if that person believes it’s immoral for them, then I would have to honor the conscience of that person and walk with them through what they would choose.
The total victory of a secularist America over the formerly Christian culture that dominated U.S. social values for nearly two centuries after the founding of this nation begs the question why abortion advocates continue to feel the urge to paint a shallow religious hue on their deification of the individual.
Catholics for a Free Choice enjoyed a heyday of sorts in the 1970s and ‘80s, when it could count on the very public backing of numerous prominent Democratic politicians while playing its part in championing abortion. Today, known as Catholics for Choice, it is an empty shell with all the import of a dusty green badge from an Equal Rights Amendment march circa 1981.
But don’t tell that to The New York Times. It ran a particularly bitter op-ed on May 27 from the group’s president Jamie Manson, who also happens to be a former columnist for The National Catholic Reporter. Manson is extremely angry at the Catholic Church, despite living in a society that has acceded to her across the board on the issues she claims to stand for. In her NYT piece she savagely ripped Pope John Paull II, who has been dead for 16 years, for his critiques on feminism, which she admits still haunt her:
I have spent nearly 20 years of my life as a Catholic theologian, lay minister and activist struggling against these insidious papal teachings. I was the last person, I thought, who would ever be vulnerable to John Paul II’s attempt to limit women’s power and potential with theological gymnastics. Yet I still struggled to shake that deeply ingrained notion that I was throwing away God’s most important gift (motherhood).
Manson explains the source of her bile:
Even among those of us who boldly proclaim our dissent from Catholic teachings on abortion, the church still holds great power. That power has been on display since President Biden, a devout Catholic, won the 2020 election. The U.S. bishops immediately fell back on the trope of threatening to deny him and other elected officials, like the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, access to communion because they support abortion rights….
We must reject the silencing and stigma that church leaders use to seal off any questioning, dialogue or education around this issue. Catholics, in particular, must push through our conditioned discomfort. Members of a privileged, patriarchal caste of religious leaders are the only ones who benefit when we are afraid to say the word “abortion” in our affirmation of reproductive rights.
Abortion, feminism, radical individualism and the destruction of the family won the cultural war in America years ago. Yet its adherents have found to their dismay that, instead of basking in feelings of self-satisfaction and triumph, there is only disillusionment and facile attempts at moral justification. This is the inevitable outcome whenever one goes against natural law. You can win the political or social argument, but in the end, you still have to deal with the fact that what you are doing goes against the natural order. Living with this reality is by all indications an ongoing struggle for today’s liberated pro-abortionists.