The Catholic convert, blogger, writer and controversialist Mark Shea has been pretty much demonized by some right wingers.
It’s understandable. He’s virulently anti-Trump and continually bashes the right wing pro-life movement. He argues intemperately on social media and happily throws foxes into henhouses.
I like that. Turning over tables in the temple and all that…
I usually disagree but he gets me thinking. He stirs the pot and at least you can’t say he’s lukewarm.
But the “very face of evil incarnate”? Come now. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and assume whoever made that picture (which I found online) was joking.
Mark’s not the face of evil incarnate. He’s just a strident controversialist. In the age of Trump the fighter, Mark comes out swinging, and that’s okay.
So during my morning walk I listened to Mark Shea’s podcast today through BreadBox Media.
It was an episode with a pro-life feminist whose name I missed.
It was an interesting conversation. The feminist and Mark were grousing and espousing. Grousing about bigoted Trump supporting right wing pro life warriors and espousing the “seamless garment” or “the consistent ethic of life” and explaining why they would vote Democrat.
They made some good points: that the Republicans, despite their words, haven’t really done much to stop abortion. They keep on funding Planned Parenthood and Shea contends that it’s the Republicans who keep making war, putting little refugee kids in cages and veto government aid programs that would actually help poor mothers choose life rather than abortion.
I get it.
The problem with Mark Shea’s analysis is that it lacks both nuance and balance.
Do the Republicans wage war overseas? Uhh…the Democrats are pretty good at that too as I remember. Do the Republicans lock up poor people? We’ve got Clinton and Joe Biden to thank for the overwhelmingly huge prison population in America–the vast majority of whom are from the underclass. Do Republicans try to pull the plug on social benefit programs for the poor and elderly? Some do, but so do some Democrats.
The simple fact of the matter is all politicians and parties play the establishment game. They are for the three “P’s”: Prosperity, Power and Pleasure. They are in that for themselves and the rich and powerful people behind the scenes, and they know that is what gets votes. Of course there are some good, hard working and ethical public servants, but the Bible says, “Do not put your trust in princes”…nor in politicians I would add.
Mark is correct that we need to not only be against abortion, but be in favor of helping women in crisis pregnancies, helping families who adopt, helping the poor and elderly, helping those in the underclass to survive and thrive.
Mark is incorrect if he is ascribing equal weight to all these issues. Sure we should be on the side of the marginalized, the helpless, those threatened with violence, those who are powerless. It is not too hard to establish a hierarchy of needs. Some people are more innocent, more helpless, more marginalized, more threatened with death, more likely to be victims of violence than others. Therefore, while we should help all who are in need, there are some who are more helpless, threatened and innocent than others–and that category is, without question, the unborn.
That’s why pro-life warriors prioritize abortion.
Mark makes an interesting observation about supply and demand for abortion. While we may be intent on cutting off the supply, we also need to address the question of demand. Why do so many women seek an abortion? For many they are poor and cannot imagine how they are going to support a baby. We should be there for them not only at birth, but as part of a whole community of life.
Me? I’m not really a political animal. There’s still too much of the Amish in me. I also believe in the principle of subsidiarity. Initiatives should be taken and problems should be solved at the lowest local level possible.
Can politicians do some good? Sure. God bless ’em.
But what if we all rolled up our sleeves and did what we could with what we have where we are? What if our pro life purpose right here right now was not only to end abortion, but to promote adoption and fostering, to look after the women in crisis pregnancies, the moms and dads who have kids, to build up our families, our parishes and schools as oases of life in the midst of the culture of death?
If that is what we were doing we wouldn’t have quite so much time to blather on about politics.