Don’t ‘Chris­tian­ize’ abor­tion with ad­ver­tise­ments

Tulsa World - - Opinion - BY CHANCE FLETCHER

Just a few weeks ago a new “re­pro­duc­tive jus­tice” group in Ok­la­homa, the Ok­la­homa Call for Re­pro­duc­tive Jus­tice, started ad­ver­tis­ing on Face­book. Out of cu­rios­ity, I checked their web­site out, and came away deeply dis­turbed.

Ok­la­homans take their religious faith se­ri­ously. Ac­cord­ing to Pew Re­search, nearly 80 per­cent of Ok­la­homans are Chris­tians, and from per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence, be­ing born and raised here, it is an im­por­tant part of daily life. Ok­la­homa is also a deeply pro-life state, pub­lic polling from Sooner Poll, an Ok­la­homa City-based polling or­ga­ni­za­tion, sug­gests that

Fletcher

nearly 80 per­cent of vot­ers call them­selves pro-life. The data, un­sur­pris­ingly, sug­gests there is a lot of over­lap.

It seems that The Ok­la­homa Call for Re­pro­duc­tive Jus­tice (OCRJ) has picked up on the fact that they would have a dif­fi­cult time con­vinc­ing Ok­la­homans to turn their backs on the un­born with­out dress­ing up their ad­vo­cacy of abor­tion in Chris­tian rhetoric. They seem to be at­tempt­ing to do just that.

On its web­site, it ar­gues that the end­ing of a life be­fore birth is some­thing, “God sup­ports,” and in which God “guides the faith­ful.” OCRJ's sug­ges­tion that the killing of the un­born can be jus­ti­fied un­der Chris­tian teach­ings per­haps is echo­ing a sen­ti­ment re­cently ex­pressed by Chelsea Clin­ton, who de­clared that it would be “un-Chris­tian” to re­vert back to a time be­fore the ju­di­cial le­gal­iza­tion of abor­tions in the United States.

To any stu­dent of his­tory these at­tempts to “Chris­tian­ize” abor­tion should be pro­foundly alarm­ing. Chris­tian­ity is a faith that teaches com­pas­sion and jus­tice, es­pe­cially for the weak­est and most vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of so­ci­ety. How­ever, the name of Chris­tian­ity has fre­quently been per­verted and then used to com­mit ter­ri­ble in­jus­tices against the de­fense­less.

Na­tive Amer­i­cans, such as my­self, are keenly aware of ter­ri­ble in­jus­tices that have been car­ried out un­der the ban­ner of a per­verted form of Chris­tian­ity. The de­hu­man­iza­tion of in­dige­nous peo­ple here and else­where was all too of­ten jus­ti­fied un­der the name of Chris­tian­ity. This de­hu­man­iza­tion al­lowed a litany of in­jus­tices — from the Trail of Tears to the fre­quent tear­ing away of chil­dren from par­ents to bru­tal mas­sacres. The stain of chat­tel slav­ery was also fre­quently de­fended un­der the ban­ner of Chris­tian­ity.

Fredrick Dou­glass, a Chris­tian, put it elo­quently, when he said, “I love the pure, peace­able, and im­par­tial Chris­tian­ity of Christ: I there­fore hate the cor­rupt, slave­hold­ing, women-whip­ping, cra­dle-plun­der­ing, par­tial and hyp­o­crit­i­cal Chris­tian­ity.” Chris­tians in Amer­ica must guard against re­peat­ing such past mis­takes. We must not al­low Chris­tian­ity to be used to ra­tio­nal­ize lethal vi­o­lence against the most vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of the hu­man com­mu­nity to­day: un­born chil­dren.

Chance Fletcher, a Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity grad­u­ate and a stu­dent at Har­vard Law School, is from Oo­la­gah.

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