Tag Archives: social justice

so i don't have to

I just wanted to point out to excellent blog posts on racism in Christianity, and in particular, both posts were calling out Doug Wilson for his racist beliefs. It’s funny, that just because early Tom Petty and Lynyrd Skynyrd concerts featured the Confederate flag does not make something right. On the contrary, it proves critical race theorists point that we still in a thoroughly racist society, and so symbols of white supremacy remain acceptable. My question is just how far will Christians go to defend their “odd ball uncles” for the sake of preserving peace among the powermongers and Celebrities in our religion? Maybe it’s high time we stop seeing these figures as “crazy uncles” and start confronting them for what they are: the norm.

A hermeneutic of oppression, a hermeneutic of liberation by Zach Hoag

Precious PaleoConfederates, Laser Klan, and Big God Theology by fellow MennoNerd and friend T.C. Moore

The Pro-Life Progressive: An Endangered Species?

It’s been quite a long while since I have had a political rant. It’s also been a while since I’ve written on the Consistent Ethic of Life I ride or die by. Well that ends today. Usually when bloggers go on political rants, they get on their hobby horse, and preach this holier than thou “partisanship is such so evil, let’s unite everyone and all be centrists” message that it gets pretty stale like last month’s WonderBread.

Ever since I was in high school, I identified as a pro-life Democrat, and it wasn’t until undergrad that I learned of the group of Dems known as the Democrats for Life of America. I have noticed a recent trend recently probably starting back to last year. Pro-life progressives and moderates are being unfairly criticized for not being “pro-life enough” by conservative evangelicals simply because they support or have worked with pro-choice politicians.  This backlash is spurred by primarily conservative writers.  On the liberal side of things, pro-life progressives still remain marginalized as well.  During the Democratic Nation convention, as a few times in the past, pro-life Democrats were treated as second-class citizens once again.  At Daily Theology, Kevin Ahern pointed to the rise in the number of Op-Eds making Joseph Cardinal Bernardin the scapegoat from everything to “Obamacare” to a cryptic boogey man of  “Chicago-style” Catholic politics.

As Ahern notes,

“Joseph Bernardin’s moral vision, best articulated with the phrase “consistent ethic of life,” should make us uncomfortable. Rooted squarely in the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and the Christian tradition, this vision challenges all of us to humbly reflect on how our politics, lifestyle choices, and ideologies promote or harm human dignity, with particular attention to the least among us.”

Reading Joseph Cardinal Bernardin opened my eyes to a new way of doing of viewing politics. You see, my problem with conservative and moderate Democrats (blue dog Democrats) is that they voted and behaved too much like Republicans-lites. In our two party system, the moderates are always the ones who lay claim to the moral high ground it assumed because of Big Mean Partisans! The problem with pro-life progressives isn’t that we are not “pro-life enough”; it’s that we run and hide from our particularity, we’re afraid of partisanship, when we shouldn’t be.

Let me put this another way. Because we as pro-life progressives have been marginalized by both sides of the political equations so much, we have chosen to just keep our mouths shut. With our silence, we are suppressing our own distinct voice. When we have newspapers mourning the demise of Blue Dog / Southern Democrats, this should not be seen as sad news. This should be looked at as an opportunity for pro-life liberals and moderates to make their voices heard, and not only that, to make it more distinct. Political difference isn’t something to be avoided, it is to be embraced first, and then once we have honest conversation, we can move forward towards solidarity and community.

As I have written about in the past, Protestants too have also written on the consistent ethic of life; Dietrich Bonhoeffer being just one of them. In fact, going back to the early Church, and writings like the Didache: from the second chapter: “you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born” is found in the same chapter with also “You shall not take evil counsel against your neighbor. You shall not hate any man; but some you shall reprove, and concerning some you shall pray, and some you shall love more than your own life.” Being pro-life is seen along the same lines as not harboring any bigotry; in other words, being anti-racist is being pro-life.

The Way of Life described by the Didache is the politics of the Jesus Way, while the Way of Death includes “First of all it is evil and accursed: murders, adultery, lust, fornication, thefts, idolatries, magic arts, witchcrafts, rape, false witness, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, deceit, haughtiness, depravity, self-will, greediness, [etc.]” The Early Christian authors of the Didache recognized that Rape Culture is part of the Culture of Death.

The Didache, Bonhoeffer, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, and Pope John Paul II are just a few examples I could give from the past. In modern times, one example could be pastors like Eugene Cho (who btw, is located in the Pacific Northwest, not South) who writes about the “womb to tomb” Consistent Ethic of Life and who also lives it out with projects such as the One Days’ Wages Campaign.

To identify as a pro-life progressive, is to give voice to the voiceless. It is about taking radical actions such as not only protecting the lives of fetuses, but to also protect children from rape culture and abuse by listening to their stories. A commitment to the Consistent Ethic of Life is consistent with movements towards integral human liberation, “in choosing sides with the little ones on the margins, the Crucified Lord joins the struggle of crucified peoples of history: whether that be the enslaved Africans on American shores, a fetus conceived within the womb of a single mother or a person sentenced on death row.  The power of the Cross destroys all false idols, and its that power, the omnipotence displayed of God suffering with us that should keep Christians from making the fetus a “fetish.”

What I am not trying to say is that pro-life progressives have to vote Democrat. I would love for more Republicans to take a stand against the death penalty or support raising the minimum wage to a living wage, for example. We must come to see that politics is more than who we vote for in the voting booth. If there is to be a triumph of the Culture of Life over the Culture of Death (with its White Supremacy, infanticide, rape culture, and economic inequality), politics must be viewed as having to do with all of life. Pro-life progressives/Democrats should stop behaving/voting like Republicans in order to gain acceptance, and we who hold on to the Consistent Ethic of Life should stop acting like we are “above” partisan politics and activism. It’s well past time for Pro-Life Progressives to make a clear case for their causes across POLITICAL party LINES and REGIONAL differences..*

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:

Pro-Life and Black

Pro-Life and Black, Part 2: Bonhoeffer, Slavery, Abortion, and Black Bodies

Black and Pro-Life 3: Resisting the Death Penalty in Mississippi

*I hope to address cultural/racial and religious differences, & ecumenism when it comes the Consistent Ethic of Life in the near future

in the words of #Firefly's Jubal Early, "Now, does that seem right to you?"

RESOLVED: QUITTING THE PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE INTERNET IN 2014

I will make this post short and sweet. Earlier this week on Facebook, and a little bit on Twitter, I shared my thoughts about what unity should look like. After giving much thought, I have come to the conclusion that I value honesty above unity, and that without openness, we cannot have unity. I side with my friend Matt that this quest for unity does involve truth, and that that charity should also be given to both our “allies” and our enemies. What has been bothering me for some time the past few years since I have been “outed” as a progressive social justice blogger, is that some writers go out of their way to make calls for unity, and then the very next day they go on to do divisive things they condemn.

Whether it’s subtweets or disappearing blog posts (cached: social faux pas and being our brother’s keeper), questioning others’ faith based on angry things that they write online seems to be a calling card for what I refer to as “The Passive Aggressive Internets,” not to be confused to the Progressive Christian Internets.  People who write on social justice are looked at as “the angry” and “not being relational enough.”  All persons from marginalized perspectives have to do is be nice to everyone, and eventually, everything will be like apple pie.  I never read this or hear this from conservatives evangelicals. Never, well except when it comes to me bringing up race, but for the most part, this all happens in post-evangelical and emergent conversations.  I appreciate the conservative side because no one is worried about tone, and its mostly about argument.  As I wrote on Tumblr the other day about The Tone Argument,

“What I have come to notice about people who use tone arguments is that A) they do not have anything constructive to add to conversations about oppression because all convos should center around their experience, B) they wish to be a part of the conversation, but they do not really have a good grasp of the terminology being used, and/or C), because there is a lack of facts and reasoning to back up their arguments, they are trying to appeal to emotions. In the latter, the appeals to emotion almost always mean (for me), a reliance on traditional negative stereotypes of the “angry black male.” I do not speak for women, but intelligent women who speak out labelled as “angry” is also a sexist stereotype. But there’s nothing wrong with anger, a person’s concern should be the application of said anger, not the emotion itself.”

In short, Tone Arguments most of the time come from persons who don’t want to hear/read what others have to say, because everything has to be centered around THEIR experience. Now, this same class of Tone Police are the same group of writers and bloggers who work to brand themselves as the spokespersons of the future of U.S. Christianity. The calls to “simma down, simma down now,” are all part of the game, they come with the territory, with the creation of this brand, because they are leaders, and they determine who gets to be at the table. Last time I checked, Scripture has only a few things to say about anger, one mostly being that people do not go to bed angry. Other than that, it doesn’t say anything against using anger constructively, say writing passionately and persuasively as a form of nonviolent resistance.

It seems that an elite, loose network of Tone Policing Post-Evangelical Christian Writers/Blogger have replaced Pastors as the shepherds of our souls; instead of congregations and denominations choosing these persons, they have chosen themselves. While seeing themselves as calling out others for their “hyper-individualism,” it would seem that the shoe is actually on the other foot.

jubal early right