Sunday, 26 June 2022
Where There’s Life?
The Supreme Court of the United States has not banned abortion. It has merely sent the matter back to the states, where few, if any, of the trigger bans will now survive more than a few electoral cycles. Several of them are not what they are cracked up to be, and in any case Republican no less than Democratic economic policy, not there is a difference, depends heavily on abortion.
The Court may now send other issues back to the states on much the same principles, but the states would then leave them all exactly as they were. No political movement of any importance would any longer try and change any of them by legislation, if at all.
The pro-life movement did not take over the Republican Party. The Republican Party took over the pro-life movement. The economic and foreign policies of both parties will always result in at least as many abortions as there have ever been, and in numerous other horrific deaths besides. The GOP will soon enough stop pretending.
The Democratic Party is just as cynical. It never codified Roe v. Wade into legislation, because it was too useful for campaigning and fundraising purposes. For all the disappointments of Bernie Sanders, if it had not been for Hillary Clinton’s Wall-Street-and-war challenge to him to 2016, then Donald Trump would never have become President. Nor would Roe v. Wade have been reversed, but there would have been far fewer abortions, and far fewer killings in general. In having anything other than contempt for the Clintons, then those who ordinarily idolise Christopher Hitchens, even to the point of claiming to have been entrusted with missions from him on his deathbed, are as far removed from him as they are on abortion.
The American Founding Fathers were Deists, and their position is exemplified by The Jefferson Bible, from which Thomas Jefferson excised all reference to Christ’s Divinity, Resurrection or miracles; copies were presented to all incoming members of Congress until the 1950s, a practice that Hitchens rightly wanted to revive. However, the phrase “the separation of Church and State” does not occur in the Constitution. Rather, the First Amendment’s reference to religion was designed to stop Congress, full of Deists as it was, from suppressing the Established Churches of several states, although they all disestablished them of their own volition later on precisely because they had fallen so completely under the Founding Fathers’ influence. The 1797 Treaty of Tripoli, “of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary”, was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, was ratified unanimously, and specified that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”. Although he attended Episcopalian services with his wife, George Washington did not receive Communion. This is a house built on sand.
The fundamental and ultimate answer is not the Tenth Amendment, but the Gospel. Ay, there’s the rub. Red state resistance to abortion depends on Protestant opposition to abortion, but that is mostly recent, and it is institutionally weak. American Evangelicalism’s embrace of Zionism, although there are exceptions to that, has made it even less well-disposed towards perennially and robustly pro-life Catholicism and Orthodoxy than it was before, and has given it a deference to Judaism, which, as part of its formative and definitive reaction against Christianity, has long since departed from Jeremiah and the Psalmist to contend instead that we were neither alive after we had drawn our last breath nor alive before we had drawn our first. All that, and the fact, which cannot be repeated too many times, that both parties were committed to economic policies that directly depended on abortion, as well to foreign policies that depended on the normalisation of mass slaughter. See you in 15 years’ time.