On Biden’s Roe v Wade Day Proclamation

People seem shocked that after two decades of watching conservative Christians succumb as easily as fish to a worm on a hook to the daily Right Wing Panic du Jour Machine I am not joining in Friday’s Panic du Jour about Biden’s completely predictable pro-choice press release for Roe v. Wade Day.

This was to be expected. The issue will be what he does, not what he says

Abortion rates saw their most precipitous declines under Clinton and Obama/Biden. They went up under Trump. We have to break the spell of imagining that everything rides on outlawing abortion. It’s never going to happen because neither 80% of Americans nor either party wants it. We either live in reality and address it or we go on with the fantasy that the GOP will meet–or even cares about meeting–this goal. Neither party has the slightest intention of outlawing abortion. It’s just that the Dems are honest about it.

We also have to get over the idea that we elected a Pope and not a President. Biden is not a perfect Catholic. He is an average Catholic. We need to face that–and realize that it is up to us to change that and not expect it to change by magic.

This is all about making disciples and not just sacramentalized Catholics. Biden is actually way ahead of the curve in a dozen ways when it comes to wanting to implement Catholic teaching. But because the “prolife” movement’s idée fixe of abolishing abortion has turned it into a political movement that pits the unborn against all the forms of human life MAGA wants to rob, harm, and murder, they tend to respond to stuff like Friday’s statement with despair, a tribalistic resolve to display mindless hostility to everything their culture war enemy does–and to extend that to any and every teaching of the Church he affirms out of pure spite.

The folly of treating Biden as an enemy instead of as a partially evangelized Catholic is the core stupidity of the MAGAfied Catholic. There is so much to work with in this guy. It drives me nuts that his blind spot on abortion in turn blinds conservative Catholics to what an enormous gift has fallen into the lap of the American Church. We should be Priscilla and Aquila to his Apollos, not enemies.

Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately. (Acts 18:24-26)

I think he is completely sincere about his commitments to those parts of Catholic Social Teaching he has been trained to see and really takes seriously his duty to the poor. I want to see what he puts his back into, not have hysterics and give up as the Right Wing Panic du Jour machine urges. Friday’s boilerplate was expected, but I think his energies will be focused on the priorities given in his inaugural, which was notably quiet about abortion. He’s got enough on his plate with pandemic, white racist domestic terrorism, the economy, and trying to repair Trump’s damage. My money, as ever with Democrats, is on him maintaining the status quo (which is all the GOP does too), followed by focus on all this other stuff.

I’m interested in what works in lowering abortion rates, not in performative piety and in-group shibboleths that please MAGA “prolifers” with the worst judgment on planet Earth. Until the “prolife” movement gets it through its thick skull that the endpoint of their strategy for 40 years was not the abolition of abortion but their complete prostitution to Trump’s Cult of lies and death, nothing will change.

What if conservative Catholics extended at least as much charity to Biden as they so eagerly extend to Catholics like Barr, ACB, Kavanaugh and the rest of the Catholic jurists when they look straight at the Church’s teaching about the death penalty and order the slaughter of mentally ill rape and incest victims in open defiance of the Church’s teaching.

After all, Biden forces nobody to get an abortion. He simply says that the regime 100% established and entrenched by GOP SCOTUS judges should remain and allow women to get an abortion if they want. It is a passive form of dissent from Church teaching, but it is balanced by his eagerness to reduce economic pressure on women to abort.

But the Conservative Catholic “Prolife” Heroes on the SCOTUS really did directly and actively compel the slaughter of these human beings when the Church demanded they do the exact opposite. The quietude and even passionate support of “prolife” Catholics for this far more aggressive form of dissent from Church teaching is but one of the thousand ways in which the MAGA “prolife” movement has completely pissed away its capacity to persuade pro-choice people that they care about human life or intellectual consistency as they now have the vapors about Biden.

Only a whole life ethic can provide a firm footing for a discussion about the moral problems with Biden’s pro-choice advocacy. MAGA hypocrisy and bloodlust only makes clear that what matters to them is the use of the unborn as human shields for all the cult of death malice that undergirds their utterly incoherent demands that Biden be a “good Catholic” like them.

Evidence for this is seen in Simcha Fisher’s response to the “AHA!” messages she got from MAGA “prolifers” who immediately pounced on her after the Biden press release:

Can I just . . . I know Biden is pro-choice. Everybody knows Biden is pro-choice. Your mic drop links on my wall proving Biden is pro-choice aren’t making any kind of point at all. I don’t even like the guy. Go buy a box of diapers for your local pregnancy center if you’re looking for something useful to do.

The folly of the MAGA “prolife” movement is that it burns up far more of its calories on witchhunts trying to sniff out the impurity of a prolife mother of ten like Simcha than it would ever spend on just getting a life and doing one practical thing for the unborn. When they are this eager to burn somebody like Simcha at the stake, how in hell do they ever expect to persuade people who really are pro-choice that they are not a pack of braindead Inquisitors?

The first problem the “prolife” movement faces is that, so far from making converts of people who are on the fence about abortion, it is much more keen to purge people like me and Simcha, who have been prolife all our lives, who are more prolife than they are, who are absolutely committed to the Church’s teaching, and yet who are viewed by the majority of them as “infiltrators”, suspects, and enemies to be driven out, not as allies to be welcomed. So-called “prolife” conservatives have wasted decades telling people like me that we were not “really” prolife because we opposed the death penalty, or torture, or unjust war, or Trump, or their right wing lies, bullshit and cruelty, not because we supported abortion.

If you do these things when the tree is green, O MAGA “Prolifer”, how in hell do you ever hope to change the hearts and minds of people who really do see nothing wrong with abortion?

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.” (Matthew 23:14-15)

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47 Responses

  1. Interesting how, 4 years ago, your MAGA christians were claiming that Trump was really a “baby Christian” on the way to straighten-up his attitudes and they would “Keep his feet to the fire” if he did not, while by contrast they are so eager to condemn an openly Catholic president because he is not Catholic, Christian and pro-life enough for them.

    1. @marthe

      According to “Doctor” robert royal, Mr. biden is the first anti-catholic catholic president. That is the only possible explanation for his going to church on inauguration day.

      https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2021/01/25/conservative-writer-joe-biden-is-our-first-anti-catholic-catholic-president/

      I’m sure, the Royal Doctor much preferred the first anti-American American president.

      Just as soon as you think the the MAGAtry of the anti-abortion industry has reached its lowest depth, you can find asuper-duper Radtrad to say “hold My Communion Wine.

      1. I want to know who gives a pulpit to people like Robert Royal. Who the heck is he, and why do we care about what he thinks?

        He’s pompous. Self satisfied. Speaks down to everyone. He’d speak down to the Pope.

        People who earn their living by scaring the wits out of the elderly –who send them their tens and twenties– should be more than ashamed, they should send them their money back! What have they actually done to prevent abortions? Studies show that the elderly are incredibly gullible and easily manipulated, even if they have advanced degrees and have worked in positions of authority. They don’t realize that they are being preyed upon when these cons act like they are combating evil in the forefront of the battle. They are doing nothing of the sort. The money grammy sends to their prestigious sounding institute goes toward the lifestyle of the self appointed experts who need the money for their mortgage and car payments and tuition at the fancy schools their kids go to. As if that wasn’t criminal enough, they manage to shorten the *lives* of the old guy and gal that are constantly having their inner rage monkey fed.

        But the world is going to hell in a handbasket! Abortion! Gay! Muslims! Mexicans! Hollywood!

        The cons don’t even have to think originally or come up with new material because it’s always the same buzz words which boil down to: THE DESTRUCTION OF THE FAMILY!!!! Grandma and Grandpa are too set in their ways to put two and two together and realize that the family is being destroyed by the Robber Barons who are busily destroying the middle class. It’s not that hard to see they willfully don’t *want* to. They are also addicted to the *endorphins* of their rage. Easily distracted. When I was a kid, I would put a thing called a “twitch” on the upper lip of my horse so I could clean his hooves. The horse would be so annoyed by the twitch he would forget to bite or kick me for digging the poop out of. That’s what the words “gay” or “illegal aliens” or “abortion” do to grandma. She’s so freaked out she isn’t able to reason past it.

        If my memory serves me correctly, Saint Thomas Aquinas taught that contraception is even worse than abortion, because lives are *prevented*, but you don’t hear about these ultra Traddies trying to make condoms illegal. Where and when does their fuzzy logic make them uncomfortable? It doesn’t. It doesn’t bother them in the least that the Trumps of the world make children more and more unaffordable. And of course they wouldn’t want a brown tide of babies that might make their taxes go up or eat into their stock portfolio.

      2. Just as soon as you think the the MAGAtry of the anti-abortion industry has reached its lowest depth, you can find asuper-duper Radtrad to say “hold My Communion Wine.

        Don’t be silly RadTrads don’t take the Cup!

  2. I’d have more respect for him if he’d had the guts to use the “A” word. His euphemistic avoidance of it, his hiding behind the pietistic phrases of the “pro-choice” crowd is chicken%@!= and insulting.
    As you said, it was to be expected. And I’m still relieved the Orange Beast has been evicted. But the thrill is gone.

  3. @Ben,
    I once sat through one of his talks. I was so disgusted that when I got home and encountered a small throng of the cousins smoking weed on one of the pathways, seeing my mood they offered me some and I accepted. I don’t even like the stuff. What a stuffed shirt he was. Ugh.

  4. Biden’s claims to be a good chuchgoing Catholic foundered when he twice referred to “the Palmist” when quoting a psalm in his Thanksgiving address. Of course the MSM did not pick up on this like they did when the equally fatuous Trump cited “Two Corinthians”.

    1. Biden has struggled with a speech impediment all his life. But go ahead, be a petty bully about trivial crap and confirm for the world that MAGA Christians are massive jerks.

    2. It’s not an equivalent error. Joe Biden has struggled with a stutter all his life; that’s the kind of error a stutterer might make, it’s a mispronunciation. In an address where the man references the Bible correctly.

      Trump not only called the letter “Two Corinthians”, he followed up with something like, “That’s the one you people like, right?” which is not respectful to either his audience or to the Epistle. But I suspect you actually know this.

  5. @tacoanybody,
    From Aquinas’ Summa Contra Gentiles (3,122)
    (https://d2y1pz2y630308.cloudfront.net/15471/documents/2016/10/St.%20Thomas%20Aquinas-The%20Summa%20Contra%20Gentiles.pdf)

    Hence, after the sin of murder, whereby a human nature already in actual existence is destroyed, this sort of sin seem to hold the second
    place, whereby the generation of human nature is precluded. The above assertions are confirmed by divine authority

    Also interesting is Aquinas’ footnote in this section (759)
    In any community in which the inordinate practice here mentioned is carried on without scruple or remorse, the race is sure to suffer for it. Historians do not dwell on this unsavoury topic: but the inordination in question was the ruin of the Greek race, politically, socially, and physically.

    1. Okay, I need to do some research. Google is not as efficient as it used to be. Perhaps I mistook the fact that he stated that masturbation is more sinful than gay sex. That might come as quite a surprise to a lot of heterosexual catholic men.

      My thought on the matter is that a human soul, lost to miscarriage by any means is a net positive over a soul that never existed, but what do I know? I’m an unangelic housewife.

      1. That is not right either. Per Summa Theologica Q154, there are two categories of the Sins of Lust. Masturbation is the least of the unnatural sins. Unnatural sins against lust are more sinful than his categorization of the “natural” sins against lust (adultery, fornication).

        Reading Summa (https://d2y1pz2y630308.cloudfront.net/15471/documents/2016/10/St.%20Thomas%20Aquinas-Summa%20Theologica.pdf) is a difficult slog. I only made my way through because I took a class and that was one of the texts. In some sense classifying sins like this is seeing how many sins can fit on the head of a pin. According to Saint Thomas, they are all mortal sins.

        Your reasoning on a natural miscarriage versus contraception is classical Catholic reasoning on the sinfulness of contraception. God decides life or death.

  6. It wasn’t a stutter. He transposed “s” to “p”. He doesn’t do that with any other words. He saw the word on the teleprompter and had no clue how to pronounce it. It’s an understandable mistake if you’ve never had to read aloud that word before. If he has gone to Mass for 78 years I have to give him credit for sleeping through the readings on those hard wooden pews. And speaking of trivial crap, at least he holds his Bible right side up! ok, you can ban me now Mark.

    1. Amazing the knowledge that God has graced you with. Mr. Biden doesn’t know how to pronounce the word psalm even though he is a lifelong Catholic and went to church first thing on his inauguration day.

      When you wake up in the morning, do you see God in the mirror

  7. Procured abortion is the murder of an innocent human being. All the rationalizations at your command do not change that.

    1. So it’s all right to murder the ones who are not, in your godlike judgment, innocent. The neglect with which the former occupant of the White House treated the coronavirus pandemic it’s probably fine, too?

  8. Replace “abortion” with “slavery”. Still all good with your assessment that the Church just wink and nod and give communion to a man who just took positive, chosen steps to entrench slavery…I mean, abortion? Shouldn’t he be offered the medicine of correction that he might change? 2000+ babies a day – my God, that is the preeminent issue right now and just as we couldn’t continue to countenance slavery no matter what it took to purge it, abortion must also go. If the Church found a spine like St Thomas Fisher, perhaps She could find a way to end this scourge on our nation.

    1. Where did I say a word about communion? I leave such matters to his bishop. It’s amazing the hypocrisy of the MAGA cult. Trump’s outrages and murders can be shrugged off with “He’s a baby Christian” lies. But the lust to excommunicate Dems is deathless. MAGA doesn’t care about human life. It cares about raw, nihilist power.

    2. I’m happier than I ought to be that you appear to have conflated St. John Fisher with St. Thomas More. They were contemporaries. More was a layman and Chancellor of England, beheaded by Henry VIII. Fisher was the Bishop of Rochester, and died a much more gruesome death for Treason.

      What they have in common is that they were executed (judicially murdered, if you like) because they lived in a place and time with a state religion, which could and did use the weight of law to attempt to enforce belief. Thus, “assert and believe that the King of England is rightly the head of the Church in England — or he’ll kill you”. That tends to produce at least surface compliance if not belief.

      I do not actually think that a State Religion is a good thing, whether or not it’s enforceable by drawing and quartering.

      And this brings us to the point of civil legislation on enforcement of morals. You will not convince anyone that a zygote is ensouled from the moment of its existence, thus equivalent in dignity to any other human, in a world and culture where many don’t believe in souls at all. You will just baffle the people who don’t believe in souls and convince them that you seek control over other peoples’ lives for control’s sake.

      Which is why any real work against abortion (as a fact) has to come from a place of real support for the life of mother and child. Mitigating maternal poverty and ensuring prenatal care would be a better start.

    3. Also (and parenthetically), with all honor due the amazing courage and sanctity of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, one must observe that neither heroic martyrdom ended the English Reformation.

      1. But I do agree with what you wrote above. It’s pretty darn good I must say. You make me think more deeply.

    4. Who is this “we” you were speaking of? The Slaven industry was run, promulgated, and defended by people who describe themselves as Christians. Other Christians side for what it was, and did their best to eliminate it. Many thousands of Americans on both sides of that issue died because of it.

      The slavery issue, to my mind, demonstrates the complete irrelevance of religion to the question. As I always say, what you believe is not very important compared to what you do

  9. It’s hard to write off the 200,000,000 babies that will be aborted with money from the US government over the 4 years to come. Who will you blame for that? Do all those you add up for the last 4 years come close?

      1. Oh no! I hope he does not send some of that stuff to you. We all need your common sense reasoning, please don’t weaken it.

  10. He just approved sending money around the world to fund abortion. Every year there are about 50 million abortions. In 4 years that is 200 million abortions we would be complicit for. In other words he did away with what was commonly known as the Mexico City Policy. So I know I will be corrected if I am wrong, or even if I am not, but isn’t it worse to be a Catholic and reject what was taught, than to not be a Catholic, and never had been taught properly? Isn’t it somewhere in the New Testament where Paul or one of the Apostles tells the Faithful to stay away from those who rejected what was taught or had apostatized? Maybe I am confused, but I thought I read that. And could someone name one Catholic Pro-abortion politician who has ever changed their pro-abortion views? I can’t remember one over the last 50 years. Maybe Teddy Kennedy did, but it would have been as he was dying. I think he requested a meeting with Pope Benedict. So I hope he had repented.

    1. I’ve watched with dismay as, like Esau, you’ve traded away the Gospel for the porridge of right then left politics, , but praise be to Jesus Christ, when you remember your birthright it is a stunning thing. Humility is seeing things as they actually are; this post is a masterpiece in how to apply humility to current events. Prudential evangelization is always the fruit of humility, and here again you’ve produced a masterpiece.

      1. I believe all that holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims is revealed by God, you Pharisaic Inquisitor. I’m not looking for your approval any more than I give rip about your judgment. Come down off your high horse and grasp, if you can, how much of a prick you sound like.

    2. The Mexico City Policy raised abortion rates by 40% in sub-Saharan Africa. What matters more to you: reducing abortion rates or participation trophies for MAGA stormtroopers?

      1. Oh, that’s me Mark! Ha! Ha! I just can’t wait to go to the next MAGA rally! Not. Just seeking the truth. Where do you get the 40% increase figures and your other figures that abortion rates go up? I see these cited often, but don’t know the source of the numbers.

  11. Your main concern shouldn’t be with what either party wants or with what the majority of Americans want. It’s unfortunate that you think that a cause isn’t worth fighting for because of majority opinion.

  12. If you don’t change the hearts of the majority of Americans, you can’t change their behavior.
    The strategy of legislative prohibition doesn’t create respect for life, or increase the sanctity of the population, leading folks to curb sexual excess.

    Because at bottom that’s the issue, the decoupling of sex from fertility. Laws against abortion don’t affect that one way or another.

      1. Well, obviously…you ever run across any of these people who want to legislate against their own life choices?

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