Saturday, November 10, 2012

Why Black Christians Don't Care About Abortion

OK...we do, but based on the way we tend to vote, many might think we don't. Most Black Christians are honestly pro-life (in the extended definition of the term that includes being anti-death penalty)...not surprising since we attend church at rates pushing almost 3x those of Whites. We are not liberal Christians. African Americans were heavily a Republican race until the party started courting those who were commiting acts of terrorism against us, our friends and our relatives in the name of the Christian church. While our party allegiance has changed, our religious and moral convictions have not.

This, for me, is why I find the concept of Christian=Republican so offensive. The party has allowed its extreme wing to limit the discussion of morality to one based on only two concepts...abortion as murder and Gay-rights as sexual immorality (I won't even limit that to Gay marriage). To hear that these are the issues that define the political hits my ears as being told, "Black Christian simply aren't as Christian as we are over here on the Right." I would bet Latinos hear the same. If one limits the spectrum of Christian values to two, loud, oversimplified issues, then yes, liberal church-going minorities are mostly affront to the body of Christ--however, if you consider the entire Bible, minorities simply prioritize mandates from God differently.

I'm willing to throw out a guess here...minorities classify abortion like they do unfortunate solution to a social problem that can have consequences that no-one desires. I personally see Black churches prioritizing other social issues over abortion no differently than I see the White church doing the same with the death penalty, military occupation of and conflict in so many other nations. All result in death...more clearly in the case of war and execution because the point of origin of life is among dispute even within the church (apparently the idea that life begins at conception only became a rallying cry of the church in the late 70s...1970s). I'll be honest...I used to have pangs and questions over supporting candidates/parties that were more liberal in their social stances. I still ask the questions...I still sometimes wonder if I am wrong--but I will suffer no more lost sleep over the prospect of babies dying than I will the promise of adults.

It really hit me this morning that Blacks and Latinos simply prioritize Biblical mandates to care for the poor and socially oppressed very highly...and being the collectivist and community based cultures we are, Luke 6:29 (And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek, offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak, forbid not to take thy coat also.) resonates very loudly for that even if we did believe the political straw man of lower-class social leeches, we understand that, as a responsibility to help others, it is a risk that we as Christians are instructed to endure.

While I find the racial segregation of the American church profoundly disheartening and telling, I believe it also offers unique insight to all Christians in the US--an opportunity to more clearly see where earthly cultural norms have polluted our vision of God's word--that, however, is only if we are willing to let go of the sin of pride manifested as prejudice and inclinations toward cultural oneupsmanship and accept that Jesus is the only hard-line requirement in getting to heaven. 

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