Lefty Voices in 'On Faith' Choir: Christmas 'Tough Time' for Abortion Rights Backers, Ants-on-Crucifix Video Not Blasphemous
The Christmas season is "a tough time for supporters of abortion rights who have just as much excitement and take just as much joy in expecting a baby in their family as does everyone else, but end up feeling defensive and grumpy about the baby Jesus being hijacked for political gain."
That's how former Catholics for Choice president Frances Kissling lamented the enthusiastic response of pro-life activists to a church ad campaign in the United Kingdom that shows a sonogram with the unborn baby sporting a halo. "He's on His Way," reads the accompanying tag line. "Christmas starts with Christ," continues the caption in smaller print at the bottom of the advertisement. [image of the ad included after page break]
Kissling's lament was published on December 4 for the Washington Post's "On Faith" website.
"On Faith" frequently carries the pontifications of the acolytes of the religious left, such as Resurrection denier John Shelby Spong or openly gay Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who, in his December 6 "On Faith" entry set about starting a multi-post defense of why homosexuality is not really condemned by the Bible, which, to Robinson is only kind of, sort of God's Word, but not really.
Four days earlier, "On Faith" carried another religious left "guest voice," that of Yale Divinity School's Patrick Evans, who defended a controversial video clip of ants crawling on a crucifix that played as part of the National Portrait Gallery's "Hide/Seek" exhibit:
Much has been made in recent days of the decision by the Smithsonian to pull the video installation "A Fire in My Belly" by artist David Wojnarowicz from an exhibit in the National Portrait Gallery. William Donohue of the Catholic League had railed against the piece for an 11 - second segment showing ants crawling over a crucifix, and the usual suspects, faux televangelist Glenn Beck, House Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor and others made statements decrying this supposedly horrific attack on their (and my) faith.
This is a completely predictable situation, and I wouldn't be surprised if it weren't cooked up on one of the conservative/religious right conference calls. The usual "war on Christians at Christmas" tactic mixed with the usual "infidel artist" tactic. Wait five minutes and the next place you'll see this is in the fund-raising appeals of Cantor, Donohue, Beck, et al.
The truly ridiculous part is that Christian theology teaches that the tortured, abused body of Christ is God incarnate to experience and understand the deepest of human suffering, including the devastation done to bodies by AIDS. Are ants crawling on a depiction of that broken, wounded body really doing worse to Christ than humans did? Really? Ants? Jesus and his followers are afraid of ants on a plaster representation of his body?
The truly blasphemous abomination is the church's initial reluctance, even refusal to care for, speak out about, and show dignity to literal bodies of real people with HIV/AIDS. The church (Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, most all branches of it) has come a long way in its work of compassion, care and advocacy on behalf of people with HIV/AIDS, but still has much more of its own work to do in ridding itself of bigotry and stigma, which these leaders have just stirred up for their own gain.
Sounds more like what you'd hear at a Sally Quinn dinner party than your church's monthly potluck supper.