The Abortion Juke of the Religious Right

abortOn my LeftCheek blog, I’m doing a series on the Christian Comparison Factors – quasi-theological tangents that Evangelicals throw out to dismiss and subvert abuse, hurt, pain and injustice. The two others I call the #AreYouAsHumbleAsChrist game and the Hell Factor. But here and today I wanted to focus on probably the most enraging and directly political of the CCFs that Christians use to mitigate and even create injustice: The Abortion Juke.

For Evangelical Christians, abortion has been presented and is accepted as the ultimate evil both in its own act (“Killing innocent babies!”) and in its scope (“Millions of murdered babies a year!”).  No other injustice in the world can compare to it, so it becomes an easy and dreadful nuclear option to top all other nuclear options, Godwin’s Law be damned to Hitler.

The Abortion Juke happens when the conversation heads in one direction and everybody’s keeping track, expecting it to go left, and then someone jukes it hard right by bringing up “But Abortion!!!” And the rest of us break our ankles trying to keep in pursuit.

Within Evangelical circles, the AJ is most prevalent in social media platforms, especially Facebook. So a group of Christians can be having a discussion about the justness or rightness of war. We could, as has happened to me a few times, come to an understanding with people who’ve previously even cheered for the Iraq invasion of 2003. We could begin to take seriously Jesus’ words on violence and loving our enemies, and see how they apply to present situations (let’s say now, the potential bombing of Syria). Somebody on the opposing side may concede that Jesus advocates for peace and love over bombs and propaganda, and agree that maybe he and his church have been misled on the facts of the War on and Occupation of Iraq or even – gasp! – the War on Terror. But then just as that happens, someone saves the day for The Jesus of Redemptive Violence and jukes all over the page:

That’s nothing compared to how many innocent babies are killed every year by abortionists!

And it doesn’t matter what the figure or what the factor that you’re talking about is. Abortion is the Trump Card above all other Trump Cards, Ace of Spades of Ace of Spades. How many people died in Iraq since we attacked? Estimates are all over the place, but we can say over one million. Well, they counter, over 780,000 innocent children were aborted in the US in 2009 alone (that is, if they bother to actually look up facts).  The implication being, of course, that Iraqis are “the enemy” so “of course” they’re not innocent. They’re guilty — of being non-American.

And you realize you are not dealing with a rational, empathetic being right now — but rather a person who has been turned into a machine by right wing propaganda. A tool of the Empire of Anti-Abortion Political Forces.

Say you are having a discussion about pro-life (rather than simply anti-abortion) topics such as hunger. And, to illustrate the point, say 16.7 million children faced food insecurity in 2011. That’s a lot more than 780,000, right? And it’s concerning children, and because your AJ may be nativist, you mention these are American children. And they counter:

But at least they’re still alive.

You counter, again:

But they have no choice in the matter.

And you’re proud of yourself for not hurling expletives at the expletive. But it doesn’t matter. The Abortion Juker has rejected your premise, for it is not in his realm (and, truth be told, he or she is a selfish expletive). And the Abortion Juker replies, predictably:

Neither did those babies.

So, yeah, remember to carry those babies to term so they can starve out life, people. The options given by Abortion Jukers are nihilistic to the extreme.

For our third example, it is the type given by the US Council of Bishops and Hobby Lobby against universal medical coverage — and specifically, coverage that includes comprehensive reproductive health for women. It doesn’t matter how many children could die (or the fact that my child could die) without adequate comprehensive care. It doesn’t matter how many women will die without comprehensive medical care (and this is why they are attacking every Planned Parenthood clinic they can, despite the fact that it is the only place that gives any level of prenatal care to poor women), or how many of their precious pre-born become sick or even die in the womb because of lack of proper prenatal care. It doesn’t even enter their vocabulary. Because of the remote chance that one of their precious effing tax dollars might be used to offset the cost of an abortion, or in the case of Hobby Lobby or the USCOB, be used to cover contraceptives.

The Abortion Juke says that no matter your injustice, it is insignificant — the only matter that matters is abortion — unless, that is, it happens to be an issue that personally affects the Abortion Juker. Like, say, his taxes.

The Abortion Juke, as you may see here, is deadly and irresponsible. It is purely childish selfishness. Don’t try to keep up; there is no use. Lord Jesus, give us strength.

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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  • Pipercat

    Facebook is lame compared to Yahoo! Cutting your teeth over there, can prepare you for any comment section. Best way to counter a juke is to counter juke and go into sublime mode. Most times, you can dead end the original juke in that way. I’ve been called baby killer, baby butcher, that I like tearing babies limb from limb, that voices in my head are telling me to “kill the babies” and so on and so forth. The best way to counter such intelligent banter is to agree and become facetious and ridiculous. Once I was asked, “what did you do with all the dead babies you murdered”? I replied, “well, I make sure the Soylent Powder blue is completely separated from the Soylent Soft Pink!” Well the crickets entered into a full chirp! Then of course, the cavalry arrived with their own facetious nincompoopery and the juker went away. I have to confess how fun that can truly be!

    • That is awesome. Thank you.

  • cptbob

    Neither the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) or the New Testament books of the Christian Bible explicitly prohibited abortion.

    The Hebrew terms ruach (literally “wind”), and neshama (literally “breath”) are used to describe the soul or spirit.

    Jewish law holds that human life begins at birth, based on Genesis 2:7:
    “And the Lord God made man from the dust of the earth, breathing into him the breath of life: and man became a living soul.”

    The rabbinical interpretation is (most often) that human zygotes, blastocysts, embryos, and fetuses do not have souls.

    God never explicitly prohibited abortion.

    Moses was born a Jew.

    The six hundred and thirteen laws (commandments) found in the Old Testament that were revealed or attributed to Moses never explicitly prohibited abortion.

    Moses never explicitly prohibited abortion.

    Jesus was born a Jew.

    Jesus never explicitly prohibited abortion.

    Mary, mother of Jesus, was born a Jew.

    Mary, mother of Jesus, never explicitly prohibited abortion.

    The Twelve Disciples were born as Jews.

    The Twelve Disciples never explicitly prohibited abortion.

    Saul of Tarsus (the Apostle Paul) never explicitly prohibited abortion.

    Pope Innocent III (1161-1216) decreed that a monk who had arranged for his lover to have an abortion was not guilty of murder if the fetus was not “animated” at the time and that the soul enters the body of the fetus at the time of “quickening” – when the woman first feels movement of the fetus.

    The image of Pope Innocent III was immortalized during 1950 as a one of 23 marble bas-reliefs of great historical lawmakers installed on the chamber walls of the U.S. House of Representatives.

    The explicit prohibition of abortion is not biblical, but rather, papal in origin.