The problem with the pro-life movement is the same as the problem with the evangelicals . . . and the "orthodox" Catholics . . . and even the pro-Obama Catholics United crowd.
And it's an old problem at that, as old as the gospel.
The problem with pro-lifers is tribalism and zealotry. We're right, the Almighty is on our side, let's go out there and smite the Other for the glory of God.
I wonder how glorified God is feeling nowadays, with all the calls for revolution, demonization of the president, nasty signs about Ted Kennedy and all manner of anger, shouting, paranoia and bad behavior undertaken in His name.
BACK IN JESUS' TIME, one of the things the Pharisees, et al, couldn't get their heads around was that this man who claimed to be the Messiah didn't at all act like everybody knew the Messiah should act. The Messiah should be raising an army and kicking the Romans' butts all the way back to Rome.
Obviously, this "teacher" who preached blasphemy and upbraided the religious authority of the day was a scandal and a nut, and the sooner he was crucified, the better it would be. And when Pilate tried to finesse matters by proposing to release Jesus as part of the Passover amnesty, the first-century tea party would have none of it.
"Give us Barabbas!" They wanted the murderer and insurrectionist released instead. A man of action. A fighter of Romans.
In refusing to render unto Caesar, they likewise were hell-bent in their refusal to render unto God. By 66 A.D., the Zealots had launched a revolt against Roman rule.
By 70 A.D., the Roman legions sacked Jerusalem, cut out the heart of the revolt and destroyed the temple, thus fulfilling Christ's prophecy that "there will not be left here a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down." By 73 A.D., the last Jewish stronghold at Masada had fallen, leaving not a single survivor -- the defenders all killed themselves rather than be taken by the legions.
TODAY, WE HAVE parts of the Catholic and evangelical subcultures seemingly spoiling for a fight against a new Caesar. We have a prominent "Catholic" pro-life organization deriding its own church and bishops for being insufficiently zealous in denying a dead, pro-choice senator a public funeral Mass.
We likewise have pro-life organizations acting as if the answer to America's culture of death lay in the Barabbas model, as opposed to the Jesus of Nazareth model. The American Life League, "the largest grassroots Catholic pro-life organization in the United States," distributed signs to Washington "tea partiers" last weekend urging "Bury Obamacare with Kennedy."
And LifeSiteNews.com saw fit to run this cartoon with its story about ALL founder Judie Brown and other pro-life leaders trying to stop Kennedy's Catholic public rites:
YEAH, IT'S what you think it is. It's not only objectively disgusting, it's also just as uncharitable toward a man who, in his last days, well may have repented of his legislative advocacy of abortion rights.
It seems to me that we in the pro-life movement -- not to mention the "birthers," the Obamacareophobics and the "tea partiers" -- have to come to terms with the rise of the modern-day Zealots. This coincides with the Obama Administration having to deal with its own Zealot uprising -- the Zealots Against Zealotry, as it were.
On the left, the Zealots like to cuss a lot, call names and revel in their tastelessness. Occasionally, they'll threaten a "mass action" or a demonstration of some such.
On the right, more than a few Zealots threaten armed revolt as they march down the road to Masada. And, as noted previously, this is the company groups such as ALL choose to keep.
WEDNESDAY, I discovered there was such a thing as National Pro-Life Radio. And on it, amid the typical "pro-lifey" programs and Christian music, you have programs like Faith 2 Action with Janet Porter.
Let's just say Porter and her callers like "tea parties," hate "socialism" and love them some Rep. Joe Wilson, of "You lie!" fame. Wednesday's guests were Joe Wurzelbacher (a.k.a., "Joe the Plumber"), Phyllis Schalfly and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).
And what can the pro-life movement learn from Joe the Plumber? Mainly that Joe the Plumber is a blithering idiot. Don't take my word for it -- here's a partial transcript of Wednesday's show:
Caller: I need to ask you a question, OK? Straight out, I just want to know if you think Mr. Obama is a liar.AND THAT'S WHERE the pro-life movement and "Christian America" find themselves at now.
Joe the Plumber: Yes, I do. I respect Joe Wilson for saying it -- maybe not in the spot he needed to do. If anything, he needed to apologize to Congress, not the president, because he has been lying -- y'know, it's been proven time and time again, he pulls numbers out of the air . . . $50,000 for a foot amputee when doctors are sayin', "No, it doesn't."
The guy's been lying left and right, and we're gettin' a taste of what he really wants to do. So, yeah, I believe the man's a liar.
Caller: Well, so do I. Just like you, I been tryin' to get a business going myself. It's tough. And I just don't need to be payin' all this kind of money for these . . . for what? Other people that, that suckin' m-my royalties?
Joe the Plumber: Well, no, it is tough, especially for a small business. I mean, the state's into your business, and then you also have the federal government into your business, and they seem to want a part of it they really don't deserve.
It seems like we're penalized more and more for trying to fulfill the American dream. It's almost like they don't want us to be a country of producing individuals; they want us just to consume and depend on the nanny state, and we can't do that.
Janet Porter: Couple thoughts I just want to interject, Ray, that if you get four friends, you get a group rate, which is gonna save you money if you can still come and you can check the website . . . we're gonna get some stuff streamed and some tapes for you to hear.
But one of the things, too, regarding Joe Wilson -- he is actually the first congressman in history to be formally rebuked for his behavior toward the president. It's interesting. He apologized right away -- something I have yet to hear from Nancy Pelosi regarding the CIA -- but immediately everybody's saying 'You must be racist.' In fact, they interjected things he didn't say -- the word 'boy,' for example -- didn't happen.
I saw the same thing happen to you (speaking to Joe the Plumber). Were you called racist during this campaign?
Joe the Plumber: Oh, absolutely -- just because I shave my head and got blue eyes, I must belong with the Aryan Brotherhood. So, I was called a racist right off the bat, but you got to understand politicians -- Republicans and Democrats both -- that's just a political tool. That's just to rile people up to take their eye off the real issue and press advantages home they believe they have, which is just disgusting.
You want to see real racism? Go to Israel and in the Middle East, where they teach that Jewish are literally pigs. Not figuratively, but literally, and they call for the whole destruction of the race. I mean, the racism here in America -- don't get me wrong, there is there, I grew up around it, but it's not nowhere near as strong or as grievous as it is over in the Middle East and other parts of the world.
It's just a political tool for our politicians to use and to keep us divided -- and remember, they do not want Americans to be united. Otherwise, again, we'll hold them accountable and make them do their job.
Janet Porter: By the way, the House rules now are banning the words 'liar,' 'hypocrite' and 'intellectually dishonest' -- boy, they're, instead of calling people and making them accountable for what they say, and say 'Hey, listen, this has not been accurate. What you're saying has been so far off from the bill itself -- the truth -- uh, but no, instead what they're doing is they're, they're they're banning speech. I find that to be troubling. Do you?
Joe the Plumber: Well, absolutely. It goes along the lines of the political correctness. I don't know how many people realize that, but that actually started over in Germany. They wanted to, ah . . . 'How, how do we get communism to spread?' And they're like 'Well, you need to take down Western civilization.'
So they had a think tank, and they came up with this critical thinking, ah, critical, ah . . . ah, ah, critical thinking t . . . think tank, to where they . . . 'Well, you know, political correctness, that's the way of doing it -- I mean, it came to be known that. But it's pretty much criticizing anything and everything.
And that's where we find ourselves at now.
Perhaps now would be a good time to quit digging, leave the Republicans to their own crazy-pants meltdown, and shut the hell up if all you know how to do is shout.
And in the silence, perhaps it also would be a good time for the pro-life movement and "Christian America" to pray -- pray specifically for faith, hope, love, charity . . . and brains.