|Personhood USA: right wing extremists who misunderstand the Gospel
||[Oct. 12th, 2011|09:35 am]
"The Primary Mission of Personhood USA is to serve Jesus by being an Advocate for those who can not speak for themselves, the pre-born child." This statement comes up when you Google the organization's name and is on their website.
This group wants to pass legislation in every state to grant "personhood" to fertilized eggs, and thus make both birth control and abortion illegal, and to criminalize the many spontaneous miscarriages that occur at every stage from ovulation to full term, on the grounds that they're "serving Jesus."
Jesus would be appalled. Keep in mind that methods of birth control and abortion (not very effective but in use) existed in Jesus' time, and Jesus never said "Do not try to have fewer children and do not terminate a pregnancy." Others said that; Jesus didn't. Jesus said, "Judge not." Over and over again, Jesus said that people should not try to condemn and control others, but help (not control) those in need. That God would judge individuals and their acts; that his disciples should focus on other things. That they should reform themselves, get the plank out of their own eyes first, quit being so critical and controlling of others. Jesus said his followers should feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe the naked, comfort the sick and those in prison. Jesus did not mention the "pre-born child."
God the Father would be appalled at Personhood USA. Because if you believe that God set up the human reproductive apparatus, then you have to acknowledge that the failure of many fertilized eggs to implant and the failure of many fetuses to survive to full-term live birth--without any human intervention at all--are in fact part of God's plan. If you believe in that kind of God, then you have to believe that God wanted some fertilized eggs to be lost, some embryos to be lost, some fetuses to be lost, some to be born dead: because that's the way the human reproductive system works. Personhood USA's petitions would make natural miscarriages illegal....and thus, if you believe God set up the human reproductive system, would make God's plan illegal. Serving God by telling God He is wrong? I don't think that one's going to fly in the Last Judgment.
Personhood USA claims they're being an Advocate (capitalization theirs) "for those who cannot speak for themselves--the pre-born child." Leaving aside the fact that Jesus didn't mention the pre-born child, let's see what their record is in speaking for others who "cannot speak for themselves." Do they agitate for personhood for those who are rendered speechless by disabilities (whether from birth or illness or trauma)? Do they agitate for personhood for children who were brought to this country as infants or small children and now have no legal standing as persons? Do they help the disabled, the sick, the imprisoned, the mistreated, the poor, the noncitizen get a hearing when their rights are violated? Well...no. And yet Jesus (who, in my faith community, is the only advocate to rate a capital A, and is our Advocate with the Father) specifically mentioned in parables all those categories as those which his disciples should seek to help.
An egg, fertilized or not, is not a person. It's not even an embryo. An embryo is not a person. It's not even a fetus. A fetus is not a person, however much the pregnant woman who wants that fetus to become a baby may fantasize about it, pick a name, imagine its future. A baby born alive is a person...but a very incomplete one. For a baby to become a person, it must have nurturance from society.
Does Personhood USA help provide a society in which born children have the best chance at achieving their full potential as persons, including individual liberty and a voice, a way of making themselves heard? Does it support, for instance, universal health care, universal quality education, decent housing for all, fair treatment of workers, respect for the rights of persons already born? Does it take a stand on bullying in and out of schools? Does it take a stand on quality of care in mental hospitals, homes for the aged, orphanages, rehab centers, group homes, making sure that those persons aren't being mistreated? Does it do anything about child abuse, including abuse in church settings? Does it take a stand on environmental issues that affect quality of life for every person now alive? I don't see that it does. And thus I don't see that Personhood USA is doing anything Jesus said to do--but has arrogantly claimed to be serving Jesus by choosing something easier than what Jesus commanded. Because housing the homeless, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, defending and comforting the sick, disabled, imprisoned all take actual work--take getting out among the real people in the real world and risking getting down and dirty with the crowd. Like Jesus. Setting oneself up as a moral superior and trying to control others is easier and more fun...but, according to Jesus, completely wrong.
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