I have to laugh when I hear liberals accuse social conservatives of being “single-issue” voters. Of course voters, like me, are concerned about a whole plethora of issues especially since the government has intruded into every possible facet of our lives. But there is virtue in single-mindedness. There is worth in focusing on an egregious injustice that outweighs other concerns.
Suffragists were singularly focused. They believed in the promises of Liberty guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence and made possible through the amendment process of the Constitution. They were betrayed by House Democrats, 49.1% of whom voted against the 19th Amendment (81% of House Republicans voted for it). In the Senate, 67% of Republican Senators voted for it; only 47% of Democrats did.
You better believe women, like founding feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, demanded Americans focus on a single issue. In the next Congress (the 66th), Democrats were swept out of power and Republicans led the victory for women’s rights instead. In the final House vote for passage of the landmark 19th Amendment, 91% of Republicans voted for it while still only 60% of Democrats voted for it. You won’t hear that from mainstream media.
By the way, Stanton and another leading feminist, Susan B. Anthony, were prolife. In fact they made it unambiguously clear in their periodical “The Revolution” that abortion was “child murder”. It was the title of an article that went on to declare: “There must be a remedy even for such a crying evil as this.” Leading feminists, many of them proud mothers like Mrs. Stanton, embraced everything that made them women while fighting fearlessly for equality. Conversely, Hillary Clinton thinks the barbaric act of abortion is “equality”. Unlike Clinton, Stanton and Anthony were true feminists and would never have voted for Planned Parenthood’s nominee.
I’ll never forget, a few years ago, when I participated in a meeting of leading liberal evangelicals including Cameron Strang of Relevant Magazine, Shane Claiborne of the Simple Way, and Mark Clapham of the Clapham Group. The entire weekend was filled with presentations on issues with lots of emotion, scattered and disconnected Biblical verses, and zero statistics (other than that one large unsubstantiated number to prove the case). I’m a factivist, so it struck me that there was lots of activism that weekend and little factivism.
One session was as amusing as it was shocking. We were told to split up by tables and discuss, in our smaller groups, how we should define a “prolife ethic”. I naively thought this meant we were talking about human beings in the womb. Mark Clapham kicked it off by offering “concern for cage-free chickens”. I laughed, thinking he was joking, then realized he wasn’t. He was dead serious.
When each group presented to the entire room, I endured listening to the litany of things that rendered the word “pro-life” meaningless: mercury levels in water, food deserts, global warming, and yes, compassionate chicken-care. As only one of 3 minorities in a room of more than 60 leaders, I had to speak out. I challenged the gathering saying: “You know, it’s nice that we can sit here and wishfully add all of these things to define a ‘prolife ethic’. We have the luxury of doing this. None of us are enslaved. Imagine if this were 1860 and the prevailing issue were slavery. Would we sit around and define an “anti-slavery” ethic with things that have nothing to do with slavery? We’re talking about one of the most brutal acts against a living human being—abortion. At least a slave had the limited opportunity to defend himself or herself or to run away hence the Underground Railroad. A child in the womb has no ability to do either. None.”
To that, someone from the International Justice Mission (which goes out of its way not to decry or fight the global injustice of forced abortions) scolded me and said: “Your comparison of slavery to abortion is crass and careless.” Sure. If you don’t know history and can’t employ common sense. In American jurisprudence, there is no case more aligned to Roe v. Wade than Dred Scott. In both, seven Supremely wrong justices decided that certain human beings weren’t persons, therefore had no Constitutional rights. In both rulings, human beings were then property that could be bought, sold, or killed at will. In both rulings, the humanity of a group of people was denied so that a small group of people could profit (immensely) from their oppression.
Yes. They’re exactly alike. I’m sorry that liberal sensitivities blind some to what’s so crystal clear.
This is why liberal evangelicals would never have ended the institution of slavery. They want to put everything on par with the brutalization of defenseless human life or just ignore the social injustice of abortion altogether. Humans have more worth than chickens. Unlike Cecile Richards’ often used little punch line (“This year women learned that if we’re not at the table, we’re on the menu.”) chickens actually are on the menu. And they should be; they’re delicious. Horrifically, unborn babies are on Planned Parenthood’s “menu” of services, slaughtered in the name of faux equality and corporate profits.
As a black (biracial) American, I am eternally grateful that courageous radicals decided that one issue trumped others as they fought the impossible fight—to abolish slavery. (By the way, the Republican Party abolished it, gave black Americans citizenship, and black men the right to vote in the Reconstruction Amendments). To see the injustice of abortion as an issue that eclipses others is a sign of our humanity shining through. Take a look at history. It never ends well when people become the arbiters of human worth. Our dignity and value are inherent, irreplaceable and non-negotiable.
So, I’ll vote pro-life. I’ll vote to protect those who have no voice…and no, I don’t mean chickens. The ironic thing is that when a chicken is slaughtered, you can at least hear it. When a human being, in utero, is slaughtered…there is only silence. Perhaps that’s why it’s easier to pretend that single-issue voters are making a lot of noise about nothing.
But my vote and my actions will resound with this singular truth: human life is everything.