Spadaro’s American Christian Straw Man

Each time a Christian fails to take a stand for life and family, the culture of death gains momentum.

Right to Life advocates pray during a sit-in in front of a proposed Planned Parenthood location while demonstrating the group's opposition to congressional funding of Planned Parenthood on September 21, 2015 in Washington, DC.

By Stefano Gennarini Published on July 21, 2017

You’ve no doubt heard that the Jesuit magazine La Civilta’ Cattolica published a remarkable essay on U.S. religion and politics last week. It vilified Catholics and Evangelicals who fight abortion and homosexual faux marriage. The essay is all the more remarkable because the Pope endorsed the magazine.

Papal confidante Antonio Spadaro wrote that U.S. religious conservatives are united by in an “ecumenism of hate.” He accused them of chasing a “nostalgic dream of a theocratic type of state.”

Critics have expressed their dismay at Spadaro’s lack of knowledge of U.S. religion and politics. His naïve disregard for the real threats to religious freedom in America is also troubling. Most shocking of all is his irrational antipathy towards Christians in the pro-life, pro-family movement.

Spadaro’s Straw Man

Christians who fight abortion and homosexual “marriage” care about children and their well-being. They do so at a heavy cost to their reputation, their livelihood, even their lives. They’re not trying to establish a “theocracy.”

Christianity in America is not fanatically pro-life and pro-family, as Spadaro thinks. Abortion kills millions of children each year. Tens of thousands suffer the indignity of being raised by proud sodomites. Far too many self-identified Christians treat abortion as a compassionate solution to a crisis pregnancy. Too many treat sodomy as just another form of love.

Many are quick to concede the moral high ground on life and family. When push comes to shove, the best they offer is naïve, appeasing rhetoric to avoid confrontation. Dozens of diluted or defunct state religious freedom bills attest to this.

Spadaro suggests mixing religion with the pro-life and pro-family causes is unchristian. But his logic is quite selective. He has little problem with mixing religion and climate politics, European integration, and other leftist causes. Indeed, his magazine prefers to find common ground with secular political elites than to focus on differences over grave moral issues.

The Error of Pro-Life “Lite”

Spadaro overlooks the culture war that is raging in America. It’s not an imaginary war. It spills from the pages of magazines and television screens into courtrooms all around the United States. It is a war of attrition where every deed and omission counts.

It’s disastrous to sit idly while children are killed and manipulated in the name of sexual autonomy.

Spadaro and others who advocate pro-life “lite” are courting disaster for Christians. It’s disastrous to sit idly while children are killed and manipulated in the name of sexual autonomy. And not only for the pro-life and pro-family cause, but for the Gospel. Ignoring victims of abortion and homosexuality to find common cause with power elites contradicts Jesus’ message of mercy. Promoting Christian morality is not divisive and judgmental.

Each time a Christian fails to take a stand for life and family, the culture of death gains moral legitimacy and political momentum. But each time Christians take a courageous stand for life and family, the culture of death is held back or even routed. Take for example the recent case of Charlie Gard. Until Pope Francis lent his support, Charlie did not stand a chance. All it took was a tweet. Now the entire world is competing to help him.

The Pro-Life Cause is Evangelistic

The pro-life cause is inherently evangelistic. Many converts come to the Christian faith thanks to the work of Christians to promote the pro-life cause. It helps translate the Gospel into a concrete political goal in a uniquely effective way.

The pro-life cause conveys the transcendent dignity of each human life. This was ultimately revealed in the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. This gets obfuscated, if not lost, when Christians make common cause with materialistic ideologies and political movements. John Paul the Great understood this all too well. His uncompromising masterpiece Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), published in 1994, continues to inspire evangelistic pro-life activism and political activity.

We are past the stage where we can attribute dreamy rhetoric about the Church’s common goals with the neo-pagan world to naiveté. Christians unwilling to take a stand for the truth will be remembered like Pontius Pilate, who washed his hands of innocent blood to please his peers. Or they will be remembered like Judas, who sold the truth to pander to the powerful of this world.

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  • Carolyn Schuster

    This is a brilliant gauntlet thrown down in the face of what I believe is a rising “anti-church” where secular humanism is the new gospel of “love”

  • Dean Bruckner

    Idolatries are always easy at first. Richard J Neuhaus used to say, “The road to hell is paved.” Spadoro seems to be having quite a smooth ride.

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