Matthew Westfox is a United Church of Christ pastor who also serves as the “Director of Interfaith Outreach” for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, aka the lobbying arm of the cult of Moloch. He has a piece on the RCRC web site entitled “Resurrecting Pro-Life” that is not only nonsensical, but positively blasphemous.
“Where’s the victory, boasting grave?”- Christ the Lord Is Risen Today, Charles Wesley
Those words from one of my favorite hymns capture the essence of what Easter is about for me- namely the victory of God, of love, of justice, over death. “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” reminds me that Easter is a celebration of life itself and what Christians honor and revere about life. Easter reminds me of the respect and reverence for life that is at the core of my theology, that I am in my heart a deeply “pro-life” person.
Are you really? Do tell.
Today, most of us won’t use that term because it has been co-opted by those who oppose reproductive choice and abortion access. In the spirit of Easter, I want us to resurrect that term, to reclaim a pro-life theology that is deeply supportive of reproductive justice.
A “pro-life theology” that supports the killing of innocent children in the womb. This should be good.
To be pro-life, after all, means to honor life and to cherish it. But do we honor life, or do we honor a heartbeat?
Last time I checked, the former wasn’t possible without the latter, unless you count zombies as living.
Life, after all, is the ability to LIVE, to connect with other human beings, and, for Christians, life is among other things the ability to experience the presence of Christ through those connections.
This is unquestionably heading in the direction of a “quality of life” rather than “sacredness of life” direction. What’s the difference? Those who uphold the sacredness of life do some from a perspective that says that human life is valuable simply by virtue of being human, and, as Christians would put it, being made in the image of God. Those who uphold a quality of life position contend that, unless one is able to meet certain intellectual, physical, emotional, or relational criteria (which differ from proponent to proponent), your life is not worth living. Where this leaves the unborn, the profoundly disabled, the seriously ill, or even many elderly people is obvious.
To live is to use our God-given conscience and power of moral decision- making.
This would seem to leave infants out of the community of the living as well, since for many months if not years after birth they are incapable of moral decision-making.
It is to act as a truly free person with control over one’s own body, sexuality, and reproduction.
Where Westfox gets the idea that a “truly free person” is one with “control” over their “body, sexuality, and reproduction” I haven’t a clue. Oh, sure, defined from the standpoint of the secular libertarian, which sees individuals as autonomous agents with no responsibility to anyone else in these areas, this makes sense. From the standpoint of Christian theology–which sees freedom in terms of our liberation from sin so that we are free to be the people God has created us to be, wholly faithful and obedient to Him–it is total nonsense.
So many of Jesus’ teachings focus on how we live our lives and find value in our lives. If we are truly pro-life we must protect and affirm everything about what it means to be alive. How can we claim to be pro-life, especially as Christians when we seek to take from women control over reproduction and sexuality, which are such central parts of what it means to be alive?
Incredible. Jesus’ teaching, as well as that of the whole of Scripture, teach us that we are responsible for one another. They teach that humanity is made in God’s image, and that persons cannot be flushed away like so much detritus when they inconvenience us. They teach that we are responsible for the right use of our sexuality, and that that use has consequences that cannot be evaded by a trip to Planned Parenthood. They teach that we have a special responsibility to care for the least among us, the most helpless and vulnerable, and if that doesn’t include children who are entirely at the mercy of their mother for their continued survival, I don’t know who it does include.They teach us that the will to power–of which abortion is one of the rawest expressions–must yield in the face of God’s will for life.
A pro-life stance cannot concern itself only with the life of the woman. In the parable of the sower, Jesus reminds us that seed alone does not bring about new life— that all aspects of the conditions into which the seed are cast must be suitable to sustain life. If there is not enough light or too many weeds or other circumstances that make the ground unfit, the seed will not grow. The story reminds us that respecting and honoring life means doing all we can to create the conditions that will allow life to flourish—while at the same time respecting and accepting that some conditions are not suitable to sustaining life. We do no service by trying to force life into places where the ground is not right.
At this point I want to demand that Westfox produce the cereal box out of which he obviously got his divinity degree. To say that this is a misuse of the parable of sower doesn’t even begin to get at it. This is a twisting of Jesus’ words so that they are employed in the upholding of a satanic philosophy that says that people can be destroyed if we don’t think their life is good enough, if they don’t pass our muster, if they can meet our standards. It seeks to wear the face of compassion, but that compassion is expressed in terms of death for those who won’t have the same privileges that we enjoy.
Similarly, living out a pro-life theology means ensuring that those who want to create new life or parent a child never feel they cannot because the ground they stand upon is not suitable. It also means that no one should ever be coerced into bringing new life into a situation they do not believe is ready to sustain it. A truly pro-life theology means working for health care, employment, and other factors so that no one ever feels he or she cannot be a parent because the conditions aren’t suitable and that we never force life into a situation that lacks one of the most fundamental ingredients of healthy ground—parents who are ready to love and welcome the child.
So if parents are unemployed, or don’t have health insurance, they can feel good about having sex, because they can always dispose of the evidence. As for that last line, I can’t even begin to count the number of people, myself included, who never felt like their parents really loved them. A lot of those people went on to have productive, meaningful, and yes, even love-filled lives once they connected with others who would cherish them for who they are. But in Matthew Westfox’s world, people like that don’t deserve the opportunity to find that love. They are better off dead.
At this time of year I hear the endless debate about what the resurrection “really meant” and what “truly happened.” I gave up finding a definitive answer to that question, at least on a historical, factual level, in my first year theology class.
That’s pretty obvious, and it’s clearly been downhill ever since.
I find many truths on Easter morning, truths that go far beyond historical fact. Yet one in particular is the truth of a biblical, sacred exhortation to affirm, revere, and defend life; to be unabashedly, unashamedly pro-life. As Christians, let’s work together to honor the resurrection by resurrecting and re-claiming the term pro-life— not as an attack on choice but as an affirmation of all that life entails. I believe we can do this in so many ways, one of which is by being passionate advocates for reproductive justice.
This is as disgusting a piece of pro-death propaganda as I’ve ever read, the more so for it blasphemously suggesting that somehow the resurrection of Jesus Christ should motivate us to want to defend the right of women to kill their children. Somewhere, the Prince of Darkness is enjoying a good laugh at the expense of the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, and UCCers who fund this vile organization.