The current abortion crisis is being fueled by the Religious Right, which, according to a common progressive joke, is neither very religious nor very right. It is yet another poorly disguised attempt by Christian regressives to shape our social and political landscape to their bigoted, fear-defined ideal. Amanda Marcotte, Aunt B., and others are much more adept at explaining the real reasons behind the anti-choicers’ crusade. I prefer to take on the religious angle.

I am quite aware that many self-identified Christians in the U.S. are not at all regressive, at least not in the sense of attempting to force their beliefs and practices on other citizens. Take, for example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who have spent a great deal of time in our nation’s courts fighting for their right to worship in their own way. Their fights have almost always been successful, and the fruits of their struggles have led to legal understandings of our constitutional rights that are beneficial to all persons of faith. There are the Catholic Workers and the Quakers, groups whose individual adherents have often placed themselves at great risk on behalf of both their own principles and the liberties of others. At the heart of each aforementioned group’s efforts is their professed faith in God and in His Son’s teachings; I see in their actions, though, a living version of the Beatitudes. This could be said of many individuals of many professed denominations; I merely offered what are to me a few notable general examples.

The problem comes when people attempt to use truncated or cherry-picked selections of scripture as a bludgeon to try and shape our society to their desires. If you want to know that that would look like, then take a journey back to the Dark Ages. Better yet, you can get it with an Islamic flavor if you go to Saudi Arabia. As to my personal beliefs in the context of our constitutional structures, I’m rather fond of the Declaration of Independence and the principles and philosophy upon which it is based. While it is decorated with references to a Creator, it is decidedly humanist. But that’s okay with the Christian side of me, because Jesus was a humanist, too.

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