You Heard It Here First

From an IM conversation earlier today:

A: if, hypothetically, abortion was outlawed across the board what would be the next big thing for Christian activism?
B: Making poverty illegal

This seems about right, doesn’t it?

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20 Responses to “You Heard It Here First”

  1. Bruce Rosenstock Says:

    How would lawbreakers be punished? Debtor’s prisons? Or redistribution of their wealth? (That is, who are the lawbreakers, the rich or the poor?)

  2. Brad Johnson Says:

    Oh, definitely good old-fashioned Victorian England debtor’s prisons, of course. I had another paragraph of commentary, but decided I liked the front-page ambiguity. We went on to wonder whether some compromise-minded people, mostly men I’d imagine, would venture a hypothetical deal where they give up abortion rights for an agreement that the fundamentalists would re-direct their zeal toward fighting poverty. But we realized, for all their high-mindedness, the liberal would get suckered in the deal, because the fundamentalist has a pathological need to focus on the specificity of sin-identification, rather than systemic social conditions.

    The Christian activist could in theory direct their sin-specific ire toward the rich. But this amounts, in effect, to a reappraisal of systemic social conditions — to which there seems a fundamental allergy on their part.

  3. Hill Says:

    Yeah… Christians hate women most and poor people almost as much. Sounds about right, doesn’t it?

  4. Brad Johnson Says:

    I should add. for the sake of clarity, that by “christian activism” I’m referring to a particular brand thereof.

  5. Joe Says:

    Illegal, or punishable by law?

  6. Daniel Lindquist Says:

    “How would lawbreakers be punished? Debtor’s prisons?”

    Capital punishment.

  7. Thomas J Bridges Says:

    So you mean the brand of activists to currently focus only on abortion, rather than Christians in general?

  8. Thomas J Bridges Says:

    In that case, I would have to say that group would probably focus their efforts against homosexuality.

  9. Dominic Says:

    “Sodomy” generally construed. And fornication.

  10. Dominic Says:

    And impure thoughts, on the grounds that thinking about it is as bad as doing it. Bromide in the water supply.

  11. Dominic Says:

    Actually, no bromide in the water supply. We can’t deprive people of God-given temptation. They have to fight it!

    Maybe lie-detector tests. I’m thinking of that scene in Zardoz, you know the one.

  12. Adam Kotsko Says:

    I would note that Bruce’s puzzlement about how this prohibition would be enforced is very appropriate, because the fundamentalists also don’t seem to have any clear idea of how an abortion ban should be enforced in practice — they claim it’s murder, but then if asked they don’t feel comfortable saying the woman should be put in jail, etc.

  13. Currence Says:

    “but then if asked they don’t feel comfortable saying the woman should be put in jail”

    Any thoughts as to why this is? I spend zero time in abortion discussions, but I would’ve thought abortion-is-murder types would gleefully embrace imprisoning women who’ve had abortions if for no other reason than to show how serious they are about the issue. Generalizations are tough, but isn’t this the same crowd that would want to charge someone who murders a pregnant woman with double homicide?

  14. Adam Kotsko Says:

    Presumably this contradiction comes from the fact that they’re human beings who can’t fully accept the logical conclusions of their inhuman position.

  15. Daniel Lindquist Says:

    The rationale they usually give is that the women are usually coerced/suckered into getting the abortion, and so are not fully culpable — in any case, having had an abortion is already a punishment for the woman, so the law doesn’t need to pile on injury to make retribution (in the same way that suicide is illegal, but the punishment for attempted suicide is just counseling and the like, not jail-time, even though suicide is attempted murder of a sort).

    The abortionist gets the chair, though, because of all the murdering he’s done. Or if the pro-lifer is also opposed to the death penalty, they get a life sentence with no chance at parole, or whatever they maximum penalty they think the law should have available is. Never seen any hesitancy to prescribe the harshest punishments to those who provide abortions on the part of pro-lifers. If Kotsko has, I’d like to hear about it.

    Again, just repeating the pro-life line here, not endorsing it. But I don’t think it’s as wildly irrational as Kotsko implies — pure logic isn’t going to decide the issue.

  16. Currence Says:

    “having had an abortion is already a punishment for the woman”

    That makes some kind of sense, and is certainly more of a good faith explanation than “we don’t want to advocate charges against the woman for fear of alienating more people from the pro-life movement” or “women are baby machines, and the last thing we want is to imprison our baby machines”.

    “pure logic isn’t going to decide the issue”

    Fair enough. I don’t know how many anti-war activists would advocate imprisoning soldiers and officers. Perhaps in both cases it’s mostly a matter of “this might make logical sense, but it’s so far outside the realm of possibility that discussing it is completely useless”.

    As for the original post: I don’t see why something like anti-poverty would jump ahead in the queue, past things like being anti-evolution/godless science, anti-homosexuality, or anti-Hollywood/cosmopolitan lifestyle. (I’m assuming that the Christian activism in question is that activism aligned with conservatism/Republicanism/etc. If not, nevermind.)

  17. Adam Kotsko Says:

    A lot of these comments strike me as over-literal in a way that is not responsive to the spirit of the original post.

  18. Colin Says:

    The next crusade will be against lobster and/or shaving.


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