Despite What Rick Warren and Others May Think, Abortion Isn’t Satanism

rickwarrenNo, this isn’t satire – although it’s triggered by a sarcastic response to anti-abortion protesters. It’s one of those things that make you go, is there any way to effectively satirize some groups of people? It seems like we can’t go any deeper into absurdity than they already are at. So there was this tweet by prominent mega-church Evangelical pastor Rick Warren:

Yes, that Rick Warren, New York Times best-seller, man-of-the-world-and-Hawaiian-Tshirts is upset because nobody is reporting on the Satanist pro-abortionists! I know what you’re thinking: So what?? You may also be thinking after watching the video, “Why are anti-abortion people singing “Amazing Grace” at the state capital anyway? I thought separation of church and state and stuff?” And you’d be right for asking that.

But the entire anti-abortion movement is fundamentally and solely based on very restrictive religious views theocratically foisted upon the population. Additionally, and this is also key, those views are not the same throughout history. I’m often told that current Evangelical views are based on historically universally accepted Christian doctrine and “biblical teaching” – as if a clear reading of the bible has led all True Christians throughout history to hold the idea that personhood begins at conception. (Note: Though the majority of anti-abortion forces are Christian, there are also Jewish and Muslim factions that collude with Christian ones.) But then again, a majority of American Christians do not align themselves as “pro-life.” Even among Evangelicals, the most mobilized and energetic base of the anti-abortion movement, the view that life begins at conception wasn’t an issue until after the introduction of the Big Mac. Through the early 80’s, however, those who disagreed with that assertion – thanks to the coercive theocratic culture-warring politics of the Religious Right – were ostracized until eventually all of Evangelicalism was centered around culture warrior positions on abortion and homosexuality.

The singing of a hymn associated with, among other things, the Abolition* movement in a state capital as a means of supporting legislators signing a bill that would severely limit reproductive rights of religious and non-religious people alike should be cause for concern itself. It is a move of staking claim. A flag waiving. And, what’s more ironic, a song about grace used as a weapon. (*As a side note: another troubling aspect of the contemporary White Evangelicalism anti-abortion movement is tying of abortion to slavery, basically suggesting a troubling linkage between the pre-born and enslaved black adults and ignoring the plights of the women in the middle of this conversation. It is a talking point that even conservative black Evangelicals find troubling.)

Rightly recognizing the hymn singing as a type of sacredizing-as-attack, a theocratic move, a segment of pro-choice protesters started chanting “Hail Satan.” Because it’s a show and should be respected as one. But also maybe because they’re tired of the not-so-holy charade. Maybe because religion should never be forced on others, certainly not in the pluralist United States, built on the idea of freedom of religion. Maybe because it’s also kinda sorta funny.

Unless, that is, you believe 1) that Satan is God’s equal but opposite nemesis and 2) that all people who fight for abortion rights are Satanic baby-killers. In that case, this is the God-given PROOF that Satan is controlling the pro-choice movement. It’s a level of absurdity at such a level that a well-respected pastor (“America’s pastor”) not only not only questions why this non-story isn’t in all the mainstream news but also considers the Washington Times – the Glenn Beck of newspapers – a credible newspaper worthy of anything reportable. Joe Carter, in Warren’s linked piece, asks, “[W]hy is [it] not newsworthy when abortion rights supporters invoke the Prince of Darkness?” Maybe because most of the world knows that they weren’t really invoking anything of note.

But let’s talk for a moment about Satan and the demonic powers. Because in the Evangelical/Fundamentalist inerrancy version of the Bible, Satan is a great and powerful force. Though they would never admit it, the way he is talked about, Satan is lifted up as a god – as equal in power and relevance as the Trinity. Satan here is basically a combination of the Dark Side of the Force and an honorary fourth member of the Trinity. So “invoking” Satan’s name is seen as a very real threat to some Right Religionists – a cursing. Which is odd, since the demonic powers the bible warns about are those of empire – of control and colonialism. Control because it’s an effort to control the female body. Colonialism because it is a gaze that how the controlling population (in this case, the Religious Right in the Bible Belt) feels about the world is how everyone else should feel. Allowing for choice is the opposite of these demonic powers. Patriarchal controlling through legislation would be a hallmark of empire and therefore, be demonic. 

Also note that these Evangelicals are angry at the press for not considering the Satan chants as newsworthy because they believe that they – being God’s agents in the political and social world – are the center of the universe. And any offense taken towards them is persecution. But more so, Carter, in another article in self-proclaimed Evangelical Gatekeeper (the real gatekeeper is Christianity Today. But that’s an argument for another day) The Gospel Coalition, gets to the heart of the matter:

They think the abortion issue is about them, and their choices. But they’re wrong: abortion is about God. As John Piper has explained, the ultimate evil of abortion is not that it kills children or that it damages women—which it does. “The ultimate evil,” he said, “is that it assaults and demeans God.”

See, silly pro-choice people: reproductive rights have nothing to do with you or autonomy of the female body away from patriarchal religious-fueled control. It’s really about God. So it has nothing whatsoever to do with patriarchal religious-fueled control. John Piper, who is the head of the genderist and anti-LGBTQi Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and has advised domestic violence victims to stay with their husbands, says it’s not about the rights of you or your body. It’s about his angry God, who kills children at will through natural disasters.

Given the choice between that God and Satan, I think I’d take my chances with Satan.

jasdye

When he’s not riding both his city’s public transit system and evil mayor, Jasdye teaches at a community college and writes about the intersection of equality and faith - with an occasional focus on Chicago - at the Left Cheek blog and on the Left Cheek: the Blog Facebook page. Check out more from Jasdye in his archives as well!

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