I usually don’t bother reading articles with titles like ‘The (X) Case for (Y)’, where X = a right-wing ideology and Y = some fashionable dogma the Left’s picked up.
Not to say they aren’t popular. Andrew Sullivan’s given the ‘Catholic case’ against every single article of the Catechism, and David Brooks spent the years 2008-2016 explaining why Barack Obama was the second coming of Edmund Burke.
The problem is, they all tend to be extremely shallow readings of the ideology. The ‘conservative case’ for same-sex marriage is always something uselessly reductive like ‘conservatives are pro-freedom; therefore, they should like SSM.’ Fantastic, thanks.
Don’t believe me? Here’s the Christian case for race-hatred, buzzwords and all:
It’s true that Jesus said ‘Love thy neighbour’. But His ministry occurred during a period of profound racial, cultural and religious homogeneity. When He issued that teaching, any interpretation of ‘neighbour’ his audience took – whether it’s the people you live next door to, or everyone on your street, or in your town, or even your nation– would be someone who looked, behaved, and believed the same thing you did.
In other words, He couldn’t have possibly accounted for this multicultural and pluralistic society we now live in. We have to interpret His teachings in context.
What’s more, we have to adjust for modern scientific realities, which tell us that human beings are naturally tribal. We tend to be hostile toward people who are different than us. That’s just a biological fact. Why would a loving God create us with these impulses, and then condemn us for acting on them?
Sure, some of you will say: ‘Literally everything in the Bible seems to contradict what you’re arguing.’ But it’s fine, because I found this one passage that supports what I’m saying: ‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.’ So Jesus was basically on board with the race war, and any other kind of violence I deem appropriate.
See how easy that is? It takes about three minutes, and you only have to know one of the ten Bible verses everyone and their ice-head mother can quote in their sleep.
Anyway – like I said, I don’t usually read those articles. But I made an exception for Ian Wood’s ‘The Christian case for assisted dying’ because I’ve never actually seen anyone try to make that before. It didn’t disappoint.
Mr Wood appeals to ‘Christian empathy, love and compassion’ to justify killing off the terminally ill. Incidentally, I had a minister growing up who was vehemently pro-choice, and implied that my opposition to abortion made me a bad Christian. ‘So you think babies should be brought into the world by parents who don’t want them?’ he asked, sneering. ‘You think that’s the compassionate thing to do? You think that’s what Jesus would want?’
No, Rev – I guess the compassionate thing to do would be to stick a needle in its skull and Hoover it out of its mother’s womb. Anyway, why stop at foetuses? I don’t particularly want my 90-year-old grandmother anymore. She’s really running up the hospital bills. Can I stick a needle in her skull, too? No? What if I get her to sign this permission slip?
I don’t know that Mr Wood really buys his own argument. It’s impossible – literally impossible – that, after prayerfully reading Scripture (Exodus 20:13, Job 1:21, Psalm 31:15, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20) he concluded that God was basically fine with suicide, and it’s only by some unfortunate oversight that He forgot to say so for the first 2,000 years of Christian history. As the immortal William F. Buckley said, ‘I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.’
I think Mr Wood is probably a deeply compassionate man who can’t bear to see innocent people suffer. Because of this, he’s either (a) too weak to stand with Christ against death, or (b) choosing to ignore the fact that all Scripture, tradition, and history contradicts his opinion. Either way, he’ll answer for it.
So, too, will all of these charlatans who pass off their preconceived notions as Christian orthodoxy.
In the meantime, go nuts. This is a free country. Explain to us why Jesus actually wanted euthanasia, gay marriage, and abortion – and why only you, after the billions upon billions of Christians who’ve lived and died over the last two millennia, were clever enough to figure it out.
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