(Video screengrab: CNNPolitics.com)
If the American Health Care Act becomes law, it will lead to the death of untold numbers of people and those souls will depart as the direct result of action taken exclusively by people claiming to be pro-life.
For a generation now, the Republican Party has used the siren’s call of being “pro-life” as a wedge issue to divide voters and unite their base. It may have begun as little more than an attempt to wrangle up a few more religiously inclined voters, but not voting for a pro-life candidate has become akin to an act of eternal self-damnation – no matter who that candidate might be or how many women he may have bragged about sexually assaulting.
Conservatives fell for it hook, line, and sinker, especially Christians.
Every other issue and every other matter of concern both great and small has fallen by the wayside in pursuit of the all-consuming idolatry of overturning Roe V. Wade as if God is sitting on the edge of a heavenly recliner, anxiously watching Fox News to see how we will vote in each new election before determining the fate of America and our souls.
That’s not to say God cares nothing about the lives of the unborn.
I have no doubt that God does and deeply so.
But God also cares deeply about the lives of those already born.
And therein lies the rub.
Because the AHCA is but the latest punchline in a long-running bad joke that is the pro-life war cry.
To be pro-life, actually pro-life and not just certain forms of life, means to care about, empathize with, invest in, and defend life wherever and whoever it might be.
Yet for decades the ostensibly pro-life Republican Party has pounded the drums of war and wrathfully implemented the death penalty, all the while waging a relentless, all-out assault on the poor.
Which is why it would be a mistake to think the AHCA is an aberration, a glaring act hypocrisy by a group otherwise committed to being pro-life. It is not. It’s the culmination of years of chicanery by malevolent political forces that in name are pro-life, but in reality are far more pro-wealth and pro-power than they are or ever were pro-life.
But it would also be a mistake to lay all of the blame at the feet of Congressional Republicans.
The sin of the AHCA weighs nearly as heavily on those who voted those House Republicans into office as it does those who cast a “yes” vote yesterday. As House Majority Whip Steve Scalise proudly declared, “We were elected to do this.”
To be fair, Republican voters elected Republican Congress men and women to repeal and replace Obamacare with something better, not objectively worse in every way.
But…that defense falls apart in the face of the deafening silence coming from the pro-life community in the wake of the AHCA’s passage.
House Republicans passed a bill that will not only make the already difficult lives of millions of sick, elderly, and poor Americans exponentially more difficult – it will snuff out many of those lives altogether. Cancer patients will find their treatment unaffordable, the elderly will be kicked off Medicare, low income parents will have to choose between giving their children food or medicine, and victims of sexual assault will be without medical care because under the AHCA rape is a preexisting condition.
That’s not just not pro-life.
Yet, where are the leaders of the pro-life movement that every other day of the year are warning of an impending apocalypse if Roe V. Wade isn’t overturned immediately?
Where are the pro-life soldiers on the ground that every other day of the year are filling social media with links and memes and rallying at the Supreme Court to decry the downfall of civilization?
Where are the every day pro-life proponents who every other day of the year are passionately and righteously defending the sanctity of life?
Where is the pro-life movement when those who are clinging to life need them most?
I can only hope it’s a contemplative silence, a moment of quiet self-reflection in which those who genuinely care about life, all life, pause, put down the protest sign, and consider the increasingly undeniable reality that they’ve been had by a political party that cares more about power and wealth, than the lives of anyone who isn’t a rich white male.
Because in passing the AHCA, the Republican Party has once again revealed its cherished pro-life mantle to not only be an emperor with no clothes, but a whitewashed tombed which on the outside looks beautiful, but inside is full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth.