An Absolutist Agenda vs. The American Dream

Back in April I wrote a piece called "Proudly, Prayerfully Pro-Choice" -- focused on the uproar that followed the Susan B. Komen Foundation to pull funding for breast cancer screenings from Planned Parenthood. The backlash resulted in a reversal of that decision by the foundation, and in response I wrote:

As a proudly and prayerfully pro-choice priest and pastor, I rejoice that there's a silver lining in the whole sorry mess of the Susan G. Komen Foundation vs. Planned Parenthood story. That silver lining is the elevation of the issue of access to women's health care for underserved populations to the top of the news and -- for the moment -- the good news of a victory against the politicization of health care in general and women's health care in specific.

My prayer is that we learn from this that our voices can count, that our mobilizing can make a difference. And my hope is that together we can protect women's reproductive freedom by blocking the efforts of the anti-abortion zealots to make women's health care a sacrificial lamb on the altar of partisan politics.

That was April. This is August. And they're back. The anti-abortion zealots determined to make women's health care a sacrificial lamb on the altar of partisan politics are not only back, they've called in reinforcements.

Missouri Representative Todd Akin -- who took blaming-the-victim to a whole new level by asserting that "legitimate rape" does not result in pregnancy -- doubled down on his attack on women by refusing to resign with these ill-chosen words (given the tragic recent spate of gun violence episodes in this country): "I think we need to rush to the gunfire. I think we need to take this battle forward and defy and to defend America, the way she has always been."

Meanwhile, the AFA's (American Family Association) Bryan Fischer -- of "we need an Underground Railroad to kidnap children of same sex parents" fame -- says Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comment was absolutely right: elevating these guys to the category of absolutist and making them not just absolutely wrong but absolutely dangerous.

Need a definition of "absolutist?" Here you go -- courtesy of Merriam-Webster online:

ab•so•lut•ism noun \ˈab-sə-ˌlü-ˌti-zəm\
advocacy of a rule by absolute standards or principles

The "absolute standards or principles" Akin, Fischer and their allies advocate are their own literalist interpretation of the Bible and sexist interpretation of Christian theology. So convinced they have sole possession of the absolute "Capital T" Truth that they have no need of "Capital F" Facts, Akin and Fischer are exactly the kind of ideologues our founding fathers wrote the First Amendment of the Constitution to protect us from.

The "Christian Values" that undergird their platform are judgment, intolerance and condemnation -- a perverse hijacking of the justice, love and compassion proclaimed by Jesus of Nazareth. The "American Values" they are fighting to defend have nothing to do with liberty and justice for all and everything to do with power and privilege for the few. And their defiance of compromise and collaboration makes them ill-equipped to govern at best and dangerous to the democratic process at worst.

To paraphrase Edmund Burke, "All it takes for absolutists to triumph is that the rest of us do nothing." We made our voices count in April when Planned Parenthood was under attack -- time to make them count again in August and speak out, stand up and counter the rabid rhetoric of the Akins and Fischers and all those confusing their Absolutist Agenda with our American Dream. Make some noise, people!

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