I had no intention of wading into the furor over the draconian abortion laws that have recently passed in Alabama, Georgia and Missouri. There is a reason why I left the United States. I’m am well over the toxicity of the White supremacist poison that taints the air that floats over the country. The government’s failed response after the slaughter of twenty six-year old babies in their classroom sealed the deal for me.
But then a post showed up on my Facebook feed that warranted some reflection. Framed in color, the post stated that “A fetus was the first to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ.” This is a paraphrase, but this is the general idea. The fetus in reference is the baby, John the Baptist, that Elizabeth was carrying at the time that Mary was chosen to bear Jesus. The specific verse can be found in Luke 1:41. Those who read it interpret that the baby’s movement in Elizabeth’s womb is inspired by the news that Mary will give birth to the Son of God. Upon closer examination of the verses surrounding number 41, this interpretation is pretty loose. No where does the Scripture say that the baby was filled with the Holy Spirit and that is the reason it leaps. This is Elizabeth’s assumption as she herself is filled with joy over Mary’s salutation and the news of her pregnancy.
I studied the Bible for many years with great devotion. I was often enchanted by Luke’s master storytelling and I appreciate the beautiful interpretations accounted by the disciples and theologians of Jesus’ walk on Earth. What I take issue with is when the Word of God is used to shame and judge. That was never Jesus’ message and when Christians invoke Christ while provoking guilt and shame in others, they are wading into the worst hypocrisy of man made religion. The very hypocrisy that Jesus despised.
I try to stay clear of engaging in the “life” argument as my personal experience is neither black or white. I chose my son’s life because I was able to do so even though I knew I would be on my own. I felt a connection to the possibility of his existence and for me that mattered. I could never judge another woman for making a different choice. At the same time, a zygote is simply not viable outside the womb. That is an undeniable fact. Using a biblical story about a fetus to lend support behind unreasonable laws that deny a woman’s authority over her own body and life is a bit cruel. That is not Jesus.
What I know for sure about Jesus Christ is if he were walking the Earth today, he would ask what are we doing about the living, breathing children who have been permanently traumatized at our borders? Where is the love and concern for their well-being? Children are DYING in the custody of the United States. Dying while separated from the mothers that love and cherish them. We want to force motherhood on women who may not be ready for it in the name of religious righteousness, but dishonor mothers who chose to endure danger for the safety and futures of their children?
I could write a whole other post about how religion has been one of the most effective tools used to sustain white supremacy. The white man’s religion in America was used to justify the slaughter of a race of people and the enslavement of another. Jesus would never have stood for such things either.
And if Jesus were to land on the shores of the United States today, where might his first stop be, if he were even welcome to enter? Likely at the cages detaining innocent children in desperate need of love, not at an abortion clinic condemning women for making difficult choices. But, if he happened to be there, he would likely be giving hugs not words of judgment and guilt.