Conceptual Analysis, Thoughts

Abortion: Blame and the Bullying God

Let’s get very clear. The thinking behind anti-abortionists is not so much pro-life as it is pro-blame. This kind of thinking is also driving the support for Donald Trump among fundamentalist evangelicals. While I am sure that there are some sincere people on the pro-blame side who have had their genuine sense of empathy misdirected toward the unborn and away from vulnerable women, such people are merely pawns in the larger pro-blame ideology. I know this because I am from that world and I have heard the sermons that these people hear on a regular basis. They fail to comprehend that their empathy for the unborn is empathy for an abstraction. They can project their own sense of innocence and vulnerability upon the unborn. Pro-blamers never met a fetus they did not love and yet they absolutely hate more than half of the human race. What if we could know that every unborn child aborted in the next ten years would grow up to be pro-choice? Then every abortion denied now would make abortion acceptable in the near future. Would pro-lifers still be against all abortions?

Pro-blame thinking is not concerned with reducing the number of abortions and pro-choice people who think it is are completely missing the point. If it were about reducing actual abortions pro-blame people would be more open to sex education and contraception distribution. The fact that they are not open, means that they are not interested in reducing abortions. Ironically, it is pro-choice people who are more interested in reducing abortions even though they believe that the right to an abortion is necessary for remedying the unjust vulnerability imposed upon women by our society. The reason I believe that pro-lifers are actually pro-blamers is that they are not primarily driven by empathy and connection with life, they are driven by the fear of disobedience. As long as our nation is a pro-choice nation, pro-lifers fear that God will punish us. They base this on their readings of Old Testament scriptures where Israel was punished whenever it strayed from God’s commands. Progressives feed this fear when they also cite such Old Testament scriptures although they cite them to promote justice for the vulnerable. When pro-blamers hear progressives use scripture in this way, they understand the fear of punishment such scriptures invoke far more than progressives do and they interpret the vulnerable as the unborn rather than the stranger, resident alien, widow, or orphan.

Fundamentalists agree with progressives that when it comes to justice, God holds nations accountable, not individuals. As long as our nation is a pro-choice nation, God is going to punish. Evangelicals believe that legalized abortion, “getting prayer out of schools,” and the growing acceptance of homosexuality, are reasons that their quality of life has diminished in the past 40 years. They make less money, have less voice, and internalize less hope. Instead of blaming the rich and false prophets (as scripture often does) they blame what they perceive as the godless idolaters (which scripture also often does). They believe that if our nation can return to an anti-abortion nation, then God will bless rather than punish. In a nation that is anti-abortion, God does not punish the nation for injustice but instead punishes individuals for disobedience. If I have played my part in returning the nation to obedience to God, then I am not responsible for taking care of individuals who are disobedient. If abortions increase and more women die from unsafe procedures, then that is the cost of disobedience. On the other hand, if abortions decrease in a pro-choice nation, they are safe but disobedient and this seems to be a flagrant act of thumbing our nose at God. As a fundamentalist evangelical, I would rather blame individuals for the consequences of their disobedience than live in a nation that thumbs its nose at God. This is why pro-lifers are actually pro-blamers. It is all about the blame game. It is all about fear and wanting to be on the side of the strongest. For such people, God is the biggest bully in the room. In this way, Trump is the incarnation of such a god. Pro-blamers want to be on the winning side. They want to blame and ridicule those who are disobedient to their bullying god, because they want to make sure that their god knows that they are on his side.