America is full of contradictions. We were founded on principles of freedom and justice while our physical foundation was built by slaves. Christians have played a precarious role throughout that history. Some Christians have always been fervent supporters of equal rights, others have used the bible as proof that all people are not created equal.
Nowadays conservative Christians are concerned with few things more than “the sanctity of life.” It has been 40 years since the United States Supreme Court ruled to allow women to terminate pregnancies in a safer way than back alley abortions, which is what women did for centuries before abortion was legal. I’ve watched conservative Christians pounce on videos of Planned Parenthood officials’ jarringly frank discussions on what happens to aborted fetal tissue. The videos are not pretty, but they are justifiable when you make a good faith effort to understand what is being said. It may be unsavory, but it is not illegal.
The thing I have not seen is the same outrage and knee-jerk reaction to the videos fueling the Black Lives Matter movement. Yes, it is hard to believe a system we all buy into so necessarily could also be so broken, I get that. What I do not get is the willingness to dismiss video after video in one capacity while accepting another wholesale. The thing that bothers me the most about all of it is that the videos, the movement, the need to say “Black Lives Matter,” comes directly from the fact that people are losing their lives. They were people with dreams, fully formed relationships, and responsibilities — now they are dead, but the Christian Right does not cry for their lives, can someone tell me why?
If you believe a person is created at conception and deserves a chance at life, how can you make an argument that illegally selling cigarettes, talking back to a police officer, or playing with a toy gun means you deserve to die? You can’t. That’s why I’m calling BS on the obsession with protecting the sanctity of life.
I grew up identifying as a Christian conservative. I am now neither of those things because of what generational scientists and advertisers like to call a high bullshit meter. I do believe there are people who truly mourn for aborted fetuses because of who they could have been, but I wonder if those same people mourn for the millions of American children who do not have enough to eat, or who have rates of PTSD similar to soldiers returning from war, or who have access only to failing schools, or for children who are shot and killed by police, or for children who simply go to school on a weekday in December and die.
Where are your calls for life? Are you truly concerned for the sanctity of all life, or are you more concerned with asserting your sense of morality upon others whom you deem in need of moral guidance? America has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and some of the most fervently Christian states in the country are the most strident supporters of the death penalty, though Jesus Christ called for his followers to turn the other cheek. No matter your personal view of the death penalty, it’s hard to argue that Jesus would be for it.
Fiscal conservatives make much more sense to me. They don’t use the guise of Christianity to justify their policy goals, their motives are plain and simple– profit. The thing is, most of the American right, really most of American political society, functions for profit. Politicians who use Christianity to get votes have their cake and eat it too by practicing their true religion first – unfettered and exploitative capitalism.
I do not believe the Christian right holds a monopoly on hypocrisy. After all, secular “liberals” cast plenty of stones from high up in their ivory towers (some of which are still named for the most ardent supporters of slavery). I do believe, however, that there is a tendency in conservative Christian communities away from critical thought (also known as dogma) that can be too easily discredited to be ignored. I also happen to care about this because I know as a matter of personal experience that many (maybe most) conservative Christians are not hateful, and do have the capacity to think about these things critically. It is you I am speaking to. There is logic, and then there is what Christian conservatism has become — it does not have to be this way.
If you truly desire to live in a “Christian nation” that upholds the morals of Jesus Christ, I strongly suggest you go to the New Testament and begin again with his words in red letter.