Sometimes, you can be too extreme for your own good.
Why aren’t these children smiling?
Bob Vander Plaats is “a thrice-failed Iowa gubernatorial candidate who successfully led a campaign last year to oust three of the nine Iowa Supreme Court justices who backed a unanimous decision in favor of marriage equality.” Mr. Vander Plaats is so driven to make wedge issues the central focus of Iowa politics that he got caught up in his own narrow views and created a moral dilemma for himself.
In an effort to be the kingmaker for Iowa’s Presidential primary caucus, Vander Plaats has asked all GOP candidates to sign a pledge to statements that assume legitimacy about heterosexual marriage and homosexuality without any evidence to base it on. In the pledge he assumes that married people have better sex and lead healthier lives, homosexuality is a choice, homosexuality is a public health threat and homosexuality is like polygamy, adultery, and polyandry. But the one that caused the most commotion and prompted many GOP candidates to avoid the pledge was one that Vander Plaats has since removed.
It presumes that “a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.” While one can see the point he is trying to make in reference to the high rate of abortions with young, unwed black females, it is an insensitive comparison that sees slave life as a choice over abortion.
A cursory reading about slavery in this country should frighten people of Mr. Vander Plaats’ moral position on abortion. Some studies may side with Mr. Vander Platts take on slave families but all blacks back then, as some are today, were viewed as inferior to whites and mere property to the slave owners. To imply that life raised in slavery is preferable to abortion disregards this salient fact.
Some slaves were more likely to take care of their master’s children, as opposed to looking after and raising their own children. Infanticide was common among black slave women who would rather kill their new-born than see them raised under the tortuous, inhumane life of a slave.
What also strikes me as odd is how Mr. Vander Platts seems to view the life of a slave child as one that’s more desirable than no life at all. The biblical objections claimed by “pro-life” groups is quickly overshadowed by the fact that slaves were denied any free will. Their choices in how they thought and behaved were strictly controlled by their white masters in order to subjugate them to a point where any notion of freedom would mean certain death for them. Life was not precious to white slave owners concerning their slave property in terms of some flaky family values many christians refer to today. They were not looked at in terms of something precious to God but precious to the productive capacity and profits of the plantation they were chained to.
Bob Vander Plaats pulled the insensitive item from his pledge but only when people he was trying to sign on rejected it for its total lack of compassion. To Bob Vander Plaats, like so many other christian pro-lifer’s, the life that some children will be born into is never really considered in their so-called virtuous attempts to prevent abortions. Somehow the fact that many of these children from unwanted pregnancies will not live long, fulfilled lives escapes the understanding of people, whose only repulsion about abortions is that it deprives God’s right “to take a life”.
The bible is replete with God sanctioning the killing of enemies and their families who stood in the way of what Yahweh had in store for his “chosen people. Later in history there would be holy wars where many innocent women and children were killed “in the name of God”. The natural order of life on earth that is supposed to be controlled by the Almighty wipes out entire generations and cultures by flood, famine, disease and other natural calamities. Somehow this is viewed as “God’s will” for removing human life, both good and bad, yet a relatively simple abortion in the early stages of an unwanted birth is somehow a tool that only Satin can use. God would rather you have children and develop great emotional attachment to them before he decides to destroy them in his “mysterious ways”.
Bob Vander Plaat and I may share the view that all life is precious but I’m sure we part ways on the issue of when life is truly human. We might agree that some children are born into a world where they are unwanted and unloved and will suffer terrible atrocities at the hands of adults they live amongst but Bob feels that should not be a factor in determining to bring a pregnancy to full term.
Educating young black females about getting pregnant, providing birth control measures and providing essentials to those mother’s who do carry a pregnancy to full term is more apt to be “God’s will” than simply insisting that any woman who finds herself pregnant from events she had no control over or is guilty of taking improper preventative measures should endure the consequences of their condition.
A life born into slavery, be it an imposed cultural economic condition in early America or one today that offers no hope from poverty, is not something anyone should force onto another to satisfy a personal religious view. Free will, if there really is such a gift from God, is not the sole property of those who attend church every week and listen to the sermons each Sunday. God chose not to save the life of Abel from his jealous brother. Perhaps he also chooses not to intervene in some cases where an unwanted pregnancy exists.