One More for a Christian Left

Good Article: I’m talking about the one in counterpunch about the Christian Left. The groups you mentioned all vote for progressive political candidates, or at least for those who are relatively more progressive than the alternative. But in my opinion there are many, many scattered Christians with progressive tendencies that are not being courted by the progressive movement. And what the Right has been doing, and succeeding, is capturing the sensibilities of these people by preying, dishonestly in my opinion, on their Christian sympathies. And they’ve been doing it with just one issue – abortion.

I grew up a Catholic, working class origin, and all those around me that were both Catholic and working class were all Democrats (forgetting for the moment about their “sins” as well). Over the years however, I have witnessed traditional Catholic support for the Democratic party erode, and many Catholics switch sides over to the Republicans simply because they cannot in clear conscience support a party that advocates what they consider infanticide. As a Catholic, I find that the political and economic policies of the Republican party are tantamount more with a “culture of death” than any pro-abortion stance, but this is because I am an ideological Catholic and not a ritual Catholic.

The Right in America knows how to play hardball; we should acknowledge this. But it is merely using the moral issue of abortion as a stepping-stone towards a greater evil – the complete elimination of the welfare state. This is the Right’s true agenda. As for me, the welfare state amounts to “God’s handiwork on earth”, and if I had to choose between the preservation of a welfare state without abortion versus a social-Darwinist state with or without abortion, I’d choose the former simply because that would be the greater good – and I’m not even an utilitarian when it comes to ethics. People on the left better start to realize, and realize quickly, that to bring the majority of voters back into the progressive fold, that they must take seriously the bedrock moral beliefs of the “average guy”. Otherwise, welcome to America, where the “rule of law” is dog eat dog, AND where a woman will not have a right to choose.

–anonymous via email

Reply: Thanks for the thoughtful email. I hear your pain and disappointment in the face of the American Right. As a tonic to it all, I follow Angela Davis in recommending less talk about abortion, more talk about reproductive rights. And since this is Women’s History Month, enough already about “the average guy.” I have had one too many conversations with alleged progressives who refuse to speak in demographic terms that have some sociological coherence. And this is why the left is losing. It has no strategic vocabulary beyond liberal punditry. So allow me to rephrase the problem, the left’s attack on the right always forgets the people who must serve as logic’s middle term.

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