Tuesday, November 15, 2016

On Moral Trump Cards and Moral Blindness: "Pro-Life" Voters and the Election of Trump

Leah Mickens, commenting here a few moments ago:

The abortion issue has become a way for Catholics to not have to deal with the real world.

Adam Kotsko recently at his An und für sich site (with thanks to Fred Clark at Slacktivist):

It should be a rule of thumb: when someone presents you with an absolute, non-negotiable moral trump card, they are not appealing to your moral sense. They are trying to blind it. And evangelicals have let themselves be fooled and manipulated for over 40 years.

How is it possible for "pro-life" (white) Christians to flock to the polls and elect a man whose campaign for the White House was overtly based on attacks against vulnerable minority groups, and whose campaign rallies were full of people screaming hate slogans targeting members of vulnerable minority groups? How is it possible for "pro-life" (white) Christians to claim we love everyone and don't have a racist bone in our bodies while we pull the lever for Donald Trump?

How is it possible for "pro-life" (white) Christians to disclaim all responsibility for the hateful incidents now proliferating around the country in the wake of Trump's election, as African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, LGBTQ people, women and others are targeted for abuse by people shouting about Donald Trump? How is it possible for the lay Catholic intellectual leaders of American Catholicism to continue pretending that abortion is the make-or-break moral issue on whose basis we should make our political choices, while they totally ignore racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and homophobia?

Leah and Adam point to a thought-provoking answer to these questions: focusing on the abortion issue as the moral trump card makes things easier for us. Easier for us

Not for them. Not for the African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, LGBTQ people, women and others now being targeted for abuse as a direct result of the "pro-life" choice of "pro-life" (white) Christian voters in this election.

But for us.

Abortion is that sin that exists over there, outside our holy community. In focusing on it as the moral trump card, we don't have to look at ourselves — to ask about our refusal to stand with all those targeted others, about our decision to place the lives of those targeted others in danger even as we claim we are motivated by an ethic of respect for life!

We can masquerade as sin-free, we ourselves and our holy community, when we use abortion as our singular, exclusive moral trump card and pretend that all life issues are summed up in this single life issue — while we remain oblivious to those real, human lives going on all around us, which are now made precarious and painful by our "pro-life" vote in this election. 

It's nice to have these moral outs — for ourselves — isn't it? As we decry the sins of others . . . .

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